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Your smart speaker can hear more than you think

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Smart speakers are a must-have for anyone who wants to create a voice-activated home — from listening to music and podcasts to controlling the latest connected devices, devices have become a household staple.

So much so that in the first three months of 2022, more than 30 million were shipped globally, with Amazon ahead of the race accounting for about a third of them with its Alexa-enabled devices.

but Overview (Opens in a new tab) Some disturbing research has revealed that your smart speaker is collecting more data about you than you might have initially realized.

Smart speakers are always listening

Smart speakers always listen to you (unless you turn that functionality off, which kind of beats the point), and they’re broadly capable of keeping recordings or transcribing what you said to help developers make it more intuitive, but at what time does it cost?

While Amazon, Google, and Apple all promise minimal data collection and high levels of security, many users will have third-party integrations that allow them to interact with a number of services, from connected cars to food ordering apps and nearly everything in moderation. .

VPNOverview says that “some third-party skills are not fully supervised” which can open a gateway for hackers, exposing them to the risk of many leaks and hacks. activation a VPN Goes some way to mitigate these risks.

Another concern raised by the company is that some smart speakers can make online purchases directly on the device. It recommends setting up two-factor authentication (2FA) to allow these transactions, but for many, this again runs counter to the idea of ​​having an enabled device in their home.

Ultimately, in most use cases, customers are found to prioritize convenience over privacy, rendering many of the measures companies put in place nearly useless.

Google says that by default it does not keep audio recordings on its servers. Amazon says its users can review and delete their voice recordings and transcripts stored securely in its cloud. Finally, Apple says it only stores the required minimum data for six months. We’ve reached out to all three companies for advice on what users can do to ensure the maximum possible protection of their data when using smart speakers.

Apple directed us to a file HomePod privacy and security (Opens in a new tab) webpage Amazon told us to check out their demo page (Opens in a new tab) and an FAQ page (Opens in a new tab)and Google sent us to its privacy information page (Opens in a new tab) and guide practical steps that users can take (Opens in a new tab).


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