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Concerns about smart speakers are real

Smart speakers are a worry.

They capture data and insights about us and will become irresistible to hackers.

Source: Why concerns about smart speakers are real – The Listener

Peter Griffin writes:

Let’s not kid ourselves – these smart speakers are not really about our convenience but capturing more data and insights about us as humans and consumers and channelling us to the various online services those tech companies control. That’s why Alexa made its debut and why Amazon made the Dot such a cheap device.

Big brother is listening to you

If this doesn’t scare you, then you haven’t been paying attention. Which is exactly what the big technology companies behind these speakers rely on.

George Orwell’s 1984 was a set book when I was at high school in the 1970s. At the time we write essays imaging a dystopian future where a totalitarian government would spy on its citizens. We may get there yet.

What Orwell and none of us worrying about privacy in the 1970s came close to grasping was that people would gladly buy the Big Brother snooping technology themselves. Nor did we imagine the main purpose of the snooping would be to find ways to fleece us.

And that’s before you think about the security implications.

Insight or eavesdropping?

We’ve all heard stories of people having a discussion at home then seeing something mentioned in the conversation pop up in online advertising soon after. That may not necessarily be because of a direct link from a smart speaker to an advertising service.

The vast amount of collected data and the technology used to analyse it is often good enough to anticipate your purchases anyway.