Smart assistants help run your modern lives conveniently. Whether it is Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, and Bixby, among others, these devices assist in controlling and managing activities in your life. They are in your living room, home office, smartphones, bedrooms, and even your car. Aside from serving you, smart devices also collect a sizable amount of data. Using voice assistants is not necessarily a bad thing; however, it requires cautions and understanding of what information you give, who accesses the data, and how they use the data.
What You Consent To
The end-user license agreement (EULA) is an agreement you make between you and the developer/vendor of the software, indicating the restrictions and rights applied to the use of the software. The software inside the assistants records what you say along with a lot of other things. A lot of this is used to increase sales by knowing customer behavior. By accepting the developer’s terms, you give the company the consent to gather your voice recordings. Additionally, it also collects data on various aspects of your life, such as the frequency and time you turn on off a smart bulb or the movements of an automated vacuum. Although this information may sound harmless, when merged with additional information on your life, it forms a pattern and insight on your daily behavior.
Who Accesses the Information?
The designers and the technologists of the product have access to the aggregated data of end-users. Additionally, several individuals hired by the companies in the technology industry to listen to the sound recordings to make necessary adjustments and upgrades for better performance of the software also have access. For instance, Amazon has transcription farms all over the world. The insights collected in these farms will aid Amazon’s understanding of the many colloquialisms and accents of the world to grow Alexa globally.
What Does It Do With It?
The end-users, tech companies, and other firms benefit from the data collected in smart assistants. For example, Google and Amazon claim that the data may lead to the development of personalized tips like reminders to lock doors, turn off the stove, or even recommend recipes. An assessment of the data also helps companies get ideas for a new product or features. The added features may help smart assistants to understand complex questions. Most voice assistants analyze data for marketing campaigns; however, companies like Amazon do not sell or share data with third parties.
The use of smart assistants continues to increase each day. Therefore, to minimize the fear that your devices are listening to you, ensure that you adhere to privacy and security policies.
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