Have you given any thought to the privacy and security concerns of your voice assistant or what might happen when you connect it to another smart connected device? Perhaps the bigger question should be are manufacturers doing their part and working in tandem to ensure when we use these devices the data being collected by the IoT (Internet of Things) isn’t readily available to any hacker smart enough to access the information?
Privacy and security hasn’t really changed. In fact, it continues to be a top priority for all of us, or at least it should be when we consider using it to connect our home devices to other voice-assistant technologies to make our lives more convenient.
Do you all remember the days when I wrote about how Big Brother hovers over our lives and how much most of us hated the concept? What has happened to Big Brother? It seems we rarely even mention Big Brother.
I think the concerns that Big Brother has raised still exist. Many people still are concerned about Big Brother listening to everything that is being said. A PwC survey of those that don’t own a voice assistant, do not plan to as a result of privacy concerns. And 38% say, “I don’t want something ‘listening in’ on my life all the time.’”
Another, 28% admit to being concerned about privacy issues with my data/security and another 21% says the value isn’t there (or) the price exceeds what they are willing to pay for the current service.”
There is another report that echoes the PwC report. Coming out at the end of last year, the Selligent tells us a similar story about privacy and security being a top concern.
Selligent surveyed 5,000 consumers, and 69% of them say they find it “creepy” when they receive ads based on conversations they have that are not with their voice assistants. And 51% worry that voice assistants listen in on their conversations with other people.
I will bet this has happened to many—or at least something similar. You have a conversation with your spouse about needing to purchase a coffee machine and then later that day you are on Google and you see an ad for a coffee machine. I would bet we have all felt that “creepy” feeling at one point or another.
Selligent’s research says 64% are aware that their online activity is being tracked, and they welcome product recommendations based on their previous searches and purchases.
Another 47% even said it’s “nice” or “helpful” to see ads based on recent queries they’ve made to their voice assistants. In reality it’s nice to have better quality information at our fingertips more quickly.
But it makes me wonder how much privacy we’re all willing to give up for these conveniences. Is it convenient enough? I have to admit, after researching for this segment, I wanted to alter my phone settings and the setting on my Amazon Alexa at home.
As I have stated before, it’s a little bit like the wild west in my opinion when it comes to how these tech behemoths are using our data, and I just don’t know if I want to be part of this experiment.
At the same time, I’m a tech junkie, and I see the huge benefit and potential in voice assistants.
I also want this tech to succeed, because much like what I have written about and discussed on my radio show, the benefits are beginning to outweigh our fears That means we are beginning to see some real potential in use cases for this technology.
However, we can’t really get there, though, until we have a better handle on privacy and security. We need to know more about how, when, and why our voices are being recorded and listened to by voice assistants and the companies behind them. We need to have a better understanding of the data and who owns that data and how it is being used now and well into the future.
The average person needs to know how to erase her history and turn off these capabilities if she so chooses. We are clearly not there yet. And until we do, that is perhaps one of the biggest privacy and data hurdle that is not openly discussed.
I would like Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and others to explain the long-term strategy so we can all feel good about who’s listening and to ensure our privacy and security as a result. Perhaps that’s why so many are concerned we have become a surveillance economy.
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