Whispering at home? No way to hide privacy from these billion dollar business houses

Privacy concern (Representational picture) Pixabay

A recent documentary, The Great Hack, explained how all our interaction, credit card swipes, web searches, locations, likes and dislikes were collected in real time that affected our privacy. But in terms of the home voice assistance, provided by big tech giants such as Google and Amazon, customers also started to raise several concerns, as it was revealed that hundreds of employees have access to what you are talking at your house. Now, the question is how to protect it?

Recently a CBS-affiliated television station, WFMY News 2 said during a news program that a customer, who has five smart speakers at home, currently concerned about their privacy as they came to know that such devices are not so private as people think.

The father of two children, Eric told the news channel, "I am concerned down the line, when they (his two daughters) start having conversations with friends and those conversations get recorded. I wonder that somehow impacts their privacy."

The big tech leaders, Google, Apple and Amazon faced similar queries in the past few years. In response, all these companies stated that they take necessary steps to protect their customer's privacy. But the news channel revealed that these three companies also confirmed that they have teams, who listen to the recordings of people using their voice commands and interface.

In a letter from Amazon to US Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., it was mentioned that the company keeps recordings from its voice assistant Alexa indefinitely in response to questions about how Amazon uses and stores data.

The news channel featured an expert who said that companies like Amazon and Google "have a ton of consumer data and they are using this data to make their products better."

So if you are one of those consumers, who have a smart speaker at home, you should turn off those devices when you are not using it and "you don't have to worry as much," said the expert adding that users can also go through and spot check all the recordings. People can also delete a recording which they don't want others to listen to.

But recent report mentioned that users can manually delete the recordings from the device, but Amazon will still be able to keep the transcriptions to improve the service's AI.

Brian Huseman, Vice President of Public Policy at Amazon said, "Our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems use machine learning to adapt to customers' speech patterns and vocabulary, informed by the way customers use Alexa in the real world."

Earlier, multiple states have filed lawsuits against Amazon, alleging that Alexa collects the conversations of children without their consent.

In one incident last year, Alexa accidentally sent private audio from a family in Portland, Oregon, to one of their contacts, without the family even knowing about it.

Similar concerns have been raised about Siri, a voice service on Apple (APPL) devices. Last year, the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook concerning the company's privacy policy over such recordings.