Amazon's Accent Recognition Technology Could Tell the Government Where You're From

"If voice-based accent detection can determine a person’s ethnic background, it opens up a new category of information that is incredibly interesting to the government, said Jennifer King, director of consumer privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society.

“If you’re a company and you’re creating new classifications of data, and the government is interested in them, you’d be naive to think that law enforcement isn’t going to come after it,” she said.

Jennifer Granick, a surveillance and cybersecurity lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, suggested that Amazon’s accent data could also provide the government with information for the purpose of immigration control.

“Let’s say you have ICE go to one of these providers and say, ‘Give us all the subscription information of people who have Spanish accents’ … in order to identify people of a particular race or who theoretically might have relatives who are undocumented,” she said. “So you can see that this type information can definitely be abused.”"