George Orwell’s classic novel “1984” was so eerily prescient that it’s almost cliché to cite it now — but “Orwellian” is the only way to describe a new device that will let Amazon know exactly what you’re doing in bed.
The Biden administration’s Federal Communications Commission granted the e-commerce behemoth permission to use radio waves for “capturing motion in a three-dimensional space” in a new kind of device.
This gives Amazon the ability to digitally map and track even the slightest movements in a room — and the company specifically conceived it for use in the bedroom.
According to Amazon’s June 22 filing for the necessary waiver, the tech company hoped to sell a new device that it claimed would “estimate sleep quality based on movement patterns” by using “Radar Sensor” technology.
“By capturing motion in a three-dimensional space, a Radar Sensor can capture data in a manner that enables touchless device control,” the filing said.
“As a result,” the waiver request continued, “users can engage with a device and control its features through simple gestures and movements. Facilitating touchless device control could have a substantial societal impact by greatly enhancing the accessibility of everyday devices.”
All the device would need is a power source and little or no interaction, a fact that the company touted as a way to “help people with mobility, speech, or tactile impairments, which in turn could lead to higher productivity and quality of life for many members of the American public.”
The waiver request also claimed the technology “could help improve consumers’ awareness and management of sleep hygiene,” driving home its intended placement in the boudoir.
The FCC, which regulates the type of radio waves used, gave its bureaucratic blessing Friday in a letter to Amazon.
The agency cited similar permission granted to Google in 2018 for its Soli radar technology, focusing mainly on its ability not to interfere with other devices and frequencies while ignoring privacy concerns that fall outside the scope of the agency’s purpose.
There are so many potential problems with this kind of information being collected, with the very least of these concerns being a data breach that could expose users to blackmail threats if they’re even aware there’s been a leak at all.
And because of its use in the bedroom, a place normally reserved for the most private of activities, there’s always a chance an Amazon employee could check in on the “sleep hygiene” of a certain young lady he fancies.
What if a hacker gets into the device to spy on a lovers’ tryst or, worse, use it to secretly monitor a child? What intended use could justify such exposure?
Although a device that works this way arguably has legitimate applications, the opportunity it creates for abuse or misuse is significant — especially in light of what we already know about Big Tech.
As journalist Lara Logan said while promoting her “Lara Logan Has No Agenda” program on Fox News, “the tech companies have sold us out.”