Smart speakers with their voice assistants are becoming more and more common, and many might find their way under a Christmas tree this year. But for all the assistance and helpful information they may provide, they could also be gathering lots of private and personal information and data about you, your family, and even guests. Where that personal information ends up and what it might be used for is also a big concern.
I spoke with Jordan Pearson in Toronto. He is a Senior Editor at Motherboard, a tech news site from VICE Media.Listen
The smart speakers are also microphones that pick up your conversations. They’re supposed to be activated only by “wake” words, but as Pearson notes , they’re not perfect and can be recording things you may not want them to. He says people haveto realise they are always ”on”.
Of course even when operating as desired they’re still collecting data on your habits, and all kinds of other data. Where that information ends up is also a concern. He notes that police have requested smart phone conversations.
Also, these are American companies which is also a concern because while they operate in our country they may not be subject to the same degree of scrutiny.
He points out these devices are designed to collect as much information as possible as the default setting and there is always the question of trust in these companies. He noted that the case in Europe- where someone requested to see the data a company had gathered on them….and they were sent someone else’s file.
Of course, because they’re not perfect, unless you physically turn them off, they’re always “on” and listening.
- BBC: L. Kelion: Oct 15/19: Google chief: I’d disclose smart speakers before guests enter my home
- CBC: Jun 14/19: Smart home security could have real impacts on privacy, racial profiling
- Bloomberg Business Week: Carr/Day/Frier/Gurman: Dec 10/19: Silicon Valley Is Listening to Your Most Intimate Moments
- Washington Post: A. Chiu: Dec 12/19: She installed a ring camera in her childrens room for ‘peace of mind’ A hacker accessed it and harassed her 8-year-old daughter.
- Verge: N. Statt: Dec 20/18 Amazon sent 1,700 Alexa voice recordings to the wrong user following data request