Convenience with a side of privacy invasion

Before the advent of electricity, everyone rose and slept according to the sun. Before smartphones, everyone was pretty happy just using SMS, receiving calls and playing snake on their brick phones. So it’s only a matter of time before smart home devices are placed in the same league. Question is, will you be okay when Alexa starts to make brand and product suggestions based on your daily habits and patterns?

It is predicted that the market for intelligent virtual assistants (IVA) such as the Alexa, Siri, Google’s Assistant, Cortana and Viv would reach $3.6 billion by 2020, and that it would soon be part of nearly every aspect of our lives if it hasn’t already – smartphones, automotive, retail e-commerce and healthcare just to name a few. You could be having your morning coffee and say, “Hey Alexa” or “Hey Google” for a summarised report of the market and it will give you the most relevant and up to date information without all the reading and research you would normally do.

As convenient as it is, one major concern of speech-to-speech devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home is that they are listening ALL THE TIME.  The devices are waiting for wake commands. You could of course use the mute button if you’re having a conversation containing sensitive information but that would defeat the purpose of a smart phone device.

Prime example of a smart home device always listening and recording :


Although data encryption is utilised by both devices and there is an option to delete the data collected, all is associated to your respective Amazon and Google accounts which is there FOREVER unless you remember to delete it. The risk of hackers getting a hold of your information is always a possibility. The data collected by those devices could also be used to push products and brands to its users or sell your data without your explicit knowledge. Are you comfortable with big companies collecting your data and do you think it’s not a big deal?

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