Mac is about to release an app that can search for anything you’ve seen, said, or heard. But are you sure you want everything “on the record”?
Someone posted a link in the past week that you wanted to get back to later, but you can’t, for the life of you, remember where you saw it. You know it has something to do with Python, but despite scratching your head and scrolling through your chats, you can’t find it.
Rewind could help. A new macOS app developed by Rewind AI aims to prop up your poor old memory by helping you search for anything you’ve seen, said, or heard.
Basically, Rewind records everything you do on a Mac so you can rewind to it later. While that surely has its uses, it raises major privacy flags too. If the app can record everything you do online, what’s to stop that recording from falling into the wrong hands?
How Does Rewind Work?
Rewind uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to capture text and automated speech recognition to transcribe audio from Zoom chats, text messages, emails, Slack conversations, and Word documents. Calls and video conferences are fully transcribed for your later reference.
“Our vision is to give humans perfect memory”, co-founder Dan Siroker said. “We use native macOS APIs and Optical Character Recognition to analyze everything on your screen”, the organization describes.
Rewind’s Big Privacy Issues
When the app was first announced it claimed to save all the data to the cloud, which had privacy pundits on Twitter and YouTube up in arms. Could the “perfect memory” sent to the cloud eventually arm the authorities with a complete record of everything you’ve ever done online? Possibly.
The developers quickly responded to the outcry, changing their tune so that, instead, all the data would never leave your device. Rewind AI claims to compress raw files up to 3,750 times without a major loss in quality, so that “years of recordings” can fit comfortably on your device.
Even so, another concern is consent. The technology records all your meetings and conversations, which participants legally need to consent to first. However, Rewind places the responsibility on you to get that consent. It doesn’t have a pop up like Zoom, for example, formalizing the process. Failing to get the right consent could get you into legal hot water down the line.
Even if we assume Rewind.ai’s local vault is completely safe, one cannot help but wonder what a cybercriminal would be able to do if they get access to such local instances. The more you record, the more you risk exposing yourself.
Despite these concerns, one can’t help but be impressed by the possibilities. To be able to type in a word and find all recent conversations and links related to it? That could be a huge win for productivity. I know I could use it…
Investors are interested too. The venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz is leading a $10 million funding round at a valuation of $75 million, as he believes the technology could cure information overload.
What do you think? Does Rewind’s potential usefulness out-weight its creepiness? Can we trust Apple and its app developers to leave our data well enough alone? We already know we can’t rely on tech companies like Apple to treat our data with the proper respect or confidentiality. That’s why, if you value your privacy, you need to do what you can to protect yourself online.
Outsmart Surveillance with CyberGhost VPN
Even without adding Rewind to the mix, you should be keeping your online activities private with CyberGhost VPN. CyberGhost is the top Mac OS VPN if you’re looking to protect your personal information online.
Our VPN hides your IP so snooping apps and trackers can’t trace your activity to your real location or true digital identity. Our VPN also encrypts your internet traffic with military grade 256-bit AES. That way, no one can see what you’re up to online.
Become a Ghostie today and keep your browsing activity and personal data “off the record”.