And all of this analysis can be done without your knowledge or consent, or, if a company even cares to attempt a justification, under the guise of “This call may be recorded for training and quality control purposes.” The fact that “training and quality control goals” can include almost any of the use cases described in the previous paragraph makes me suspect that we will never know when our voices are being used to identify or analyze us.
Some current laws would require such disclosure and specific authorization for voice analysis of commercial telephone conversations with a corporate / entity call center. Privacy laws in the European Union clearly require individual opt-out options for recording and analyzing voice over the phone. For example, according to Bloomberg, “The Danish Data Protection Authority announced on April 11  that it has banned the country’s largest telecommunications company, TDC A / S, from recording customer calls, for training or any other purpose, until the company offers an option to withdrawal or a means of giving active consent. The right of withdrawal in such circumstances is enshrined in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Voice recordings are considered personal data under the GDPR, and the rules generally apply to businesses in the EU and outside the EU that process the personal data of EU residents. … Companies operating in Europe may need to change their call recording policies for training purposes if other DPAs follow Denmark’s lead and apply this part of the GDPR.
In addition, the highly contentious Illinois Biometric Act (“BIPA”) can also be interpreted as prohibiting the capture and analysis of the human voice without the consent of the individual concerned. “Voiceprint” is specifically named in the definition of the biometric identifier subject to protection and prohibition under the BIPA, although the Illinois legislature has simply assumed that we all know what “voiceprint” means. “. Courts interpreting BIPA have tended to rule that simply recording a voice does not trigger the law, but performing analysis or using the voice for identification purposes will trigger the law. McDonald’s was recently sued in a proposed BIPA class action lawsuit for the use of voice technology in some of its restaurant drive-thru lanes. Since McDonald’s is likely using voice capture technology to clarify orders and not to identify individual customers, the company is unlikely to have violated BIPA. However, the case will also allow us to know if the American companies base the analysis of the customers on these voice captures.
Voiceprints are also used in court cases as evidence, but some question their value. Prisoners sentenced using voice analysis were released years later when DNA evidence contradicted interpretations of voice identification. Some defense attorneys claim that the analysis of voiceprints leads to the “CSI effect” where forensic evidence is unduly factored into criminal trials. Scientific American asked, “How solid is the science behind voice identification?” Several articles in the scientific literature have warned about the quality of one of its main applications: forensic phonetic expertise in courts. We have compiled two dozen court cases from around the world in which forensic phonetics were controversial. Recent figures released by INTERPOL indicate that half of forensic experts still use audio techniques that have been blatantly discredited. Thus, the effectiveness of voice identifications has also been controversial.
Some defense attorneys claim that the analysis of voiceprints leads to the “CSI effect” where forensic evidence is unduly factored into criminal trials.