After visiting Japan in 2017, I was raving about the amazing food, tourist attractions and lifestyle Japan had to offer. As I was telling my friends and family about the trip, I recalled telling my friends, “Japan is so amazing, even the toilets have bidets that talk talk to you!”
Later while scrolling through my Instagram feed, I see an Amazon Ad marketing a bidet to me…
It appeared that Siri and Alexa had been eavesdropping on my private conversation?
The truth is, Facebook and Amazon aren’t listening to us but tracking us?
Companies like Facebook and Google are excellent at tracking our location and demographic data to serve us advertisements. However, with the increase in voice assistants in the market, it seems more and more like these large tech companies are listening in on our conversations.
Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant are listening in and collecting our: voice commands, recordings and personal data. As a marketer, I can see the value in collecting this data to improve marketing and user experience, but where does it stop?
Lawmakers and regulators are questioning whether tech companies like Google and Amazon are violating our trust by having contractors and employees listen to the recordings and transcribing the recordings to improve voice recognition. There is a lot of debate on how voice privacy should be regulated. A new law in Germany has placed voice assistants as “user interfaces” in attempts to make them more accountable and protect users. It’s evident that as the space grows, we need to think more about how to protect users’ data. If consumers don’t feel comfortable, the space will cease to grow.
IT Pro. 2020. Tech Giants Risk Privacy Probes Over Alexa, Siri Eavesdropping. [online] Available at: <https://www.itprotoday.com/data-privacy/tech-giants-risk-privacy-probes-over-alexa-siri-eavesdropping> [Accessed 16 September 2020].
Phys.org. 2020. Is Facebook Listening To Me? Why Those Ads Appear After You Talk About Things. [online] Available at: <https://phys.org/news/2019-06-facebook-ads.html> [Accessed 16 September 2020].
Schwartz, E. and Schwartz, E., 2020. Siri Privacy Whistleblower Unmasks To Urge Stricter Voice Assistant Privacy Regulation – Voicebot.Ai. [online] Voicebot.ai. Available at: <https://voicebot.ai/2020/05/20/siri-privacy-whistleblower-unmasks-to-urge-stricter-voice-assistant-privacy-regulation/> [Accessed 16 September 2020].
Usatoday.com. 2020. [online] Available at: <https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2019/06/27/does-facebook-listen-to-your-conversations/1478468001/> [Accessed 16 September 2020].