Thursday, October 4, 2007

ThePudding.com Turns Your VoIP Calls Into Ad-Serving keywords

The Associated Press reports on the beta website ThePudding.com, which is offering users "free" voice over IP (VoIP) calls, with an invasive catch -- it uses voice-recognition software to serve you ads based on the conversation you're having.

Perhaps the most chilling implication of this "service" is its potential impact on your constitutional right to privacy in your phone calls. Fourth Amendment protections against government eavesdropping rely on your having a "reasonable expectation of privacy" in your calls, something you'll arguably be trading away by using ThePudding.com's VoIP service.

The government can and likely will argue -- as it has argued when it comes to your Gmail in the case of U.S. v. Warshak -- that allowing a company to scan your communications for ad-serving purposes eliminates any Fourth Amendment privacy protections in those communications. Far from being "free," you may be paying for ThePudding.com's service with your constitutional rights.

For the AP report, "New Service Eavesdrops on Internet Calls":
http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/070924/ads_that_listen.html

Read EFF Activist Richard Esguerra's complete post:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005458.php

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