In case you weren’t aware of it, your personal virtual assistant like Google Home or Alexa are spying on you, listening to every word you say when they’re turned on.
Still, there’s no reason to panic, as these smart-home digital voice assistants are quite safe. The only thing you have to do is set some strict limits on personal information they have access to.
Any use of a virtual assistant that doesn’t include access to any personal information is safe. If you’re using Google Home or Alexa for turning on your TV or dimming your lights, you’re quite safe.
But if your usage includes sharing personal information and data, your personal virtual assistant might just hear things you wouldn’t want them to know about you.
This isn’t just a conspiracy theory or a government act of trying to gain control over the population. No, the reason why these voice assistants are listening to every word you say is much simpler.
Live Comfortably, but Consume More
Google Home and Alexa listen to the users with the main goal aimed at gathering valuable information that will provide an insight into what the users like so that they can advertise and market products.
If you’re constantly mentioning how you would like a new phone, Alexa can recommend a model based on the information it gathered from listening to your conversations.
These smart devices gather your personal data just like any other surveillance equipment. The main goal of this massive data collection is nothing more than an intrusive attempt at digital advertising.
Now, here’s the tricky part. While manufacturers say that digital assistants need a so-called wake-word to activate or awaken, they can still listen to you, as long as they’re turned on.
That means that your digital assistant is listening to you all the time until you turn it off. It doesn’t need to be awakened to hear you – it’s enough to simply power it on.
Both digital assistants are doing this for the sole purpose of gathering information and using that data to profile people and advertise the products they need or want.
New versions of Alexa will have the ability to recognize statements of interest. So, if you say that you’re into snowboarding, your digital assistant will be able to recognize your interest and target you for related advertising.
When it comes to Google Home, a future version will be able to control and monitor literally everything you do, from your everyday activities, travel and meal schedules to hygiene habits and screen time.
Then, they can gather all that information to identify your interests and patterns and market the right products based on your interests. These digital assistants are a part of the smart-home surveillance web that is aimed at selling more to modern consumers by providing recommendations according to what they want and need.
Personal Digital Assistants or High-Tech Sellers
Both Google Home and Alexa are intended to provide assistance in smart homes, listening to voice commands of the owners, or at least that’s what people think. However, the truth is a little bit different.
They are there to listen to your conversations and collect targeted pieces of information that they can use to make you buy more. While they are quite useful most of the time, they are listening to everything you say, all the time.
Most people speak their minds without giving any thought to what they’re actually revealing about their lives, friends, families, work and themselves, let alone that this data could be used for numerous future purposes. To make sure using these smart devices becomes a trend, Google and Amazon aren’t even charging for these digital assistants.
The truth is, while many view Alexa or Google Home as personal assistants, they are surveillance devices, plain and simple. Only this time it’s not control they are after, it’s target advertising. The only problem here is: all that gathered data is a real treasure chest for anyone with access.
Law enforcement, utility companies, home insurers, and so on, they would love to get their hands on that data and put their products and services in consumers’ homes. Since we know that information is the most valuable currency today, anything is possible.
Not to mention identity thieves and hackers. If they get access to all that data, there will be no end to cybercrime. But what happens when your smart device is listening to you?
Your Personal Assistant Records Your Conversation
Most people don’t even consider the fact that personal assistants are listening to what they say, let alone that these devices record the conversations without the users being aware of it. Of course, there’s a good explanation for this as well.
It’s all so that these smart devices could use more personalized interactive functions to launch apps and search the web.
The moment you utter a word, you trigger recording. It’s also known that Google stores copies of these recordings. When it comes to Google Home, it’s possible to track down the information it gathered about you. By using a My Activity feature, you can check your online activities and determine just how much your digital device knows about you.
Both Alexa and Google Home have Audio and Voice sections included, as these are needed to trigger them. It’s possible to delete those activities, but the best thing to do is turning on your device only when you really need it.
Leaving it on all the time means allowing it to listen and record everything you say. While this isn’t something to be alarmed about, it does pose a certain risk of your personal information falling into the wrong hands.
While it’s all in marketing and advertising purposes, online information includes the risk of cybercrime, so there’s that too.
Set up your device to use it only when you really need it, and you will avoid getting recorded and exposing your personal information to prying ears. Aside from that, there’s nothing to be worried about.