More people are using smart speakers than ever before. Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, and Apple’s Siri all offer smart home devices that respond to voice command. They can help you with everything from playing music and assembling grocery lists to answering your most random questions.
Belgian broadcaster VRT News recently released a report regarding third-party subcontractors gaining access to the voice recordings of many Google Home users.
Google acknowledged that its data security policies had violated and that Argentina Phone Number confidential audio recordings had leaked. They are currently reviewing their safeguards to prevent a similar future incident.
This was not the only home assistant privacy story to make recent headlines, however. US Senator Chris Coons recently wrote a letter to Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, seeking information about recordings made by the Amazon Echo home assistant. Amazon conceded that audio recordings from users were store indefinitely unless explicitly delete by the user.
The result of this bad press? Over 20% more people are hesitant about buying home assistants now than at this time two years ago, thanks to fears over the safety of their personal information. In short, more people think that home assistants are spying on us, but are they?
What happens to your voice recordings?
The storage of past voice recordings lies at the heart of the mistrust surrounding home assistants. Your recordings may also be used to provide more relevant Google Ads, though Apple does not use stored recordings for re-marketing purposes and Amazon claims to use stored recordings to improve products rather than market them.
This is hardly news. Most users understand that their past search activity is store to provide a more personalise user experience. The issue with home assistants, however, are more complicated.
Users who have listened to their archived recordings have often been surprised to find recordings of conversations they hadn’t intended for their home assistant to record.
Amazon has proven the most problematic with regards to the storage of voice recordings from home assistants. Amazon has given employees access to recordings for AI training purposes, and enough information was provided in those recordings to determine some users’ specific locations. Responding to senator Coons’ letter, Amazon conceded that they keep voice recordings indefinitely, and users must manually delete them.
Apple, meanwhile, keeps recordings, but assigns a “random identifier” to them and does not link them to individuals. However, they do not offer users the opportunity to manually delete their archived recordings. best database provider
Google has recently updated their policies to stop recording voice search queries.