Digital assistant such as Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant are in a position to provide excellent help you with making your life easy. Unfortunately, they are a great threat to your privacy as well. Therefore, you should be mindful how to remain safe when you are using such a virtual assistant for getting your tasks done.
If you are using Facebook, you might have seen how you see advertisements related to stuff that you have spoken on your private conversations. Similarly, digital assistant like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri are also aware of what you do and what your subject interest areas are.
Millions of people who live in every corner of the world have started using virtual assistants. You will not get surprised when you find a Google Assistant or an Alexa inside your television. With the advancements in technology, we can see how AI is appearing everywhere.
In the near future, we will be able to see smart light switches, dryers, washing machines, ovens and fridges ruling our house. The virtual assistants are in a position to help us get work done from these devices without any hassle.
The tech giants based in Silicon Valley are now integrating cameras and microphones to the products that we purchase to be kept at difference places of the house. For example, the Amazon Echo Spot is designed to function as a bedside alarm clock. However, you will still be able to find a small camera on it. In addition to that it has a microphone, which is continuously listening to you. On top of that, this bedside alarm clock is connected to internet at all times as well. However, these features were never revealed at the time of marketing the product.
After some time, it was also noticed how Google Home Mini is listening to the conversations at all times. All the captured data is uploaded to the Google server. This issue was quickly resolved by a PR team, but you should still be aware of the way how it acts.
Presence of such virtual assistants at home can lead you towards many issues in the long run. It is true that you are getting these products from some of the well-known brands out there in the world and you trust those brands to ensure your privacy. However, you can never predict what will happen in the future. That’s why you should be mindful about this and take appropriate measures to ensure your protection.
A virtual assistant listening to everything you speak at home can be very troubling. If the device is poorly secured, someone can hack into it and get hold of data. This can lead you towards a variety of privacy issues. Due to the same reason, you can even think of calling the Internet of Things as a nightmare. The manufacturers of these virtual assistants have a competition with each other. To overcome the competition, they try their very best to release products to the market at the lowest possible price. With this struggle, we are never too sure whether they pay enough attention to security or not.
Along with the development of consumer AI, the market appears to be more lucrative. Leading companies that don’t have budgets of Google and Amazon would ensure that they don’t cut corners with the objective of making some quick money.
During CES, we were able to notice how consumers are aware of the nightmare linked with potential privacy issues. Back in 2015, Angree developed a smart security camera through a crowd-funding campaign. This security camera would automatically turn away when you come home. It can provide you with peace of mind because you know that no one is watching at you.
Lenovo also followed the same footsteps when it came up with the Lenovo Smart Display. It gave the very first display to Google Assistant. In this device, it is possible to find a physical shutter, which you can draw over the webcam. This can help you to ensure privacy. You might have seen how a lot of laptop users tend to stick tapes over the webcams. Likewise, this is a smart move done by Lenovo and Google. It eliminates the concerns that were linked with privacy issues created by Digital Assistant, none other than Google Assistant.
Most of us have also purchased smart speakers due to the enhanced experience they offer. However, you need to take a look at the smart speaker and make sure that it is not listening to you at all times. Due to nature how it performs, it should be able to listen to you. However, it should never act as a spy and share your data with another party. You need to double-check and confirm this before you spend your money to purchase the product. Otherwise, the money you spend to purchase the product would be in vain.
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Martin Quaife, who is currently working as a Consultant for Blackstone Consultancy wants people to know that Google and Alexa Digital Assistant ecosystems are not in a position to provide 100% privacy and people should never expect it. He has done his own homework and he uses the knowledge and experience that he gathered by working as a private security specialist within London to say this.
However, there are some methods, which you can follow in order to protect your data. In both Amazon Echo and Google Home, you will be able to find a physical mute switch. You will need to turn off the microphone with this physical switch. This microphone should only be used when you want to get something done out of the virtual assistant. In all other instances, you need to make sure that it is not recording your voice.
An interesting article on how Alexa is allowing people to listen your private conversation is publish on The Verge