Smart Speakers Are a Growing Privacy Threat, PureVPN Forewarns

Smart assistants record private conversations and send the data to human analysts.

Smart speakers may bring added convenience to life. But they have been reported for listening to the private conversations of the owners, as well as sending the recorded data to external teams for analysis. As a result, these practices are posing an ever-growing threat to users’ online privacy and, thus, should be taken care of, as alerted by a virtual private network service provider.

According to a survey published by IHS Markit, an average of 13.4% percent of users across the surveyed countries were using smart speakers by November 2018. In fact, another survey reported that in the second quarter of 2019 alone, nearly 30 million units were sold across the globe, with Amazon’s smart speakers retaining the top spot. The figures are increasing every passing year, despite the threats of private conversations being recorded and analyzed.

Earlier in 2019, Consumer Reports reported that the tech giants Amazon.com, Google, and Apple Inc. were managing teams that were responsible for analyzing the recordings. While Amazon, Apple, and Google claim to be taking proactive steps to secure their users’ privacy, they also have teams listening to recordings of people using their voice-commands and interfaces, as confirmed by Consumer Reports. The big three say that the data and recordings aren't used for targeting ads but to improve product performance. However, it still doesn't bring much comfort to privacy enthusiasts.  

Though some of the manufacturers have suspended the practice, there's a heavy possibility of many still doing so, says PureVPN. Therefore, it is imperative to tweak the privacy settings of such devices to stop them from listening to users’ personal conversations. PureVPN further presented some guidelines on how to ensure internet privacy or use privacy tools to get past privacy invaders.

Some of the critical privacy pointers are presented below:

  • The privacy settings should be kept to a maximum when using smart devices like speakers, smartphones, etc.
  • Secure communication should be made using tools like antivirus, VPN, 2-factor authentication, etc.
  • Smart devices should be kept turned off when not in use.

Source: PureVPN


Categories: Information Technology

Tags: Cyber security, Internet privacy, PureVPN, Smart speakers privacy, Technology, VPN


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