Digital Ghosts

I’m working on Time Slides #Fail – my back up for The Ability to Fail in Public. The recording I took, which I plan to upload here once it’s ready, is full of people – their ghosts, trapped in the instant of celebration, or inquiry, jubilation or mundane every day activities. But listening to them closely as they pass through my sphere and I through theirs, is a highly intimate experience.

It raises questions for me over privacy. So I’d appreciate thoughts: Is it possible, or will it be in the near future, to identify people through their voice, and what is an adequate privacy stance for publishing a sound recording that contains very short snippets of people talking along with various other background noises?

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3 thoughts on “Digital Ghosts

  1. I like this idea it somehow reminds me about an old story about ‘stone tapes’ … scared me when I was little, but in a good way – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_Tape

    I was looking at (often discussed) laws re photography in public in UK recently – not sure where sound recording in ‘public places’ would sit, governed by different rules clearly … http://www.out-law.com/page-8833 ?

    If tech able to voice match from short sound fragments in noisy environments exists, I’d guess it is with state spooks, not We The Punters, and I suspect not likely to be highly reliable. Of course it depends if you’re thinking about identifying one voice from a set of millions, or eliminating most from a set of a few hundred … the latter would be a much easier task I suspect.

    • Thanks Steve! Yes, that’s the thing – I know the laws re: visual, but I’m unclear about audio alone – and the pan European perspective… The thing is, even if at present it’s not possible (aside from spooks) might it be possible in the near future? TBH I think it’s probably fine as the snippets are so incredibly short and I’ve translated them as far as I can work out what’s being said, and nothing seems to be identifiable.

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