Is Alexa Spying On You? New Amazon, Google Patents Raise Concerns

Is Technology Getting Too Invasive? Amazon Echo and Google Home can already “listen” to everything around them, and now both companies could be taking steps to have their devices...

Is Technology Getting Too Invasive?

Amazon Echo and Google Home can already “listen” to everything around them, and now both companies could be taking steps to have their devices listen in on a whole lot more.  According to a recent survey, 39 million Americans on a smart speaker. The sale of Amazon Echoes and Google Homes have now outpaced the sale of smart phones. Both companies might be taking steps to have these devices listening in on other conversations happening in your home. They could be hearing what your kids are up to or what you are talking about at dinner time. Could these helpful assistants become advertising spies? Your home assistant can do everything from add to your to-do list or order something online for you.

Amazon and Google have both filed patent applications describing the possibilities of new technology with the capacity to be both incredible and troubling. One application from Google shows an application where the devices would be “monitoring and reporting household activities“. According to the application, these devices could be monitoring pretty much everything being said in your home. The device’s new capabilities could include how often you and your family eat dinner together, how much power you use and even whether your children are getting into “mischief”. Amazon plans on having technology to target specific ads based on listening in on your phone conversations. One patent shows technology that would determine a person‘s interests and then push advertisements based on keywords heard.

Amazon defended these concerns by saying, “We take privacy seriously and have built multiple layers of privacy into our Echo devices. We do not use customers’ voice recordings for targeted advertising.“ Google said that they are always applying for different patents based on potential future technology, not necessarily what is occurring right now. The good news is that if you have an Amazon Echo, you can go on the Alexa app and see what recordings have been made.

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