Voice activated technologies offer exciting functions, but they also expose the user’s private and personal information to third-party providers. Therefore, consumers should educate themselves about the privacy issues with voice recognition technology.
This is difficult because some of the most popular devices constantly encouraged users to share personal information. This has resulted in serious consumer privacy issues over how cutting-edge devices can continually capture anything that is said by the user.
Below are just a couple examples that introduce both sides of the privacy issues with technology and explores privacy issues with voice recognition.
Samsung Smart TV Voice Recognition Privacy
Samsung TV’s have an amazing voice-command feature that allows the user to control their TV through voice-recognition software. In a nutshell, the TV viewer can simply say what channel they want, as opposed to using the remote control. While this is a unique function is cool and convenient, it raises serious privacy concerns.
Samsung has responded to these voice recognition privacy concerns by emphasizing that the technology is not sitting there listening to your every word. In addition to this, the Smart TV comes with standard industry safeguards, such as data encryption.
However, that’s not to say that some day Samsung may update it’s policies.
Clearly, consumers need to be educate themselves on how technology can capture their private information and be careful of their conversations.
Apple Siri Privacy Problem
Many iPhone users like to joke about how Siri, the virtual assistant, sometimes says funny quips or makes painful observations about the user. For example, when asked why a calendar is empty, Siri may logically respond that the user has no friends. However, the disembodied robotic voice is actually a passive-listening technology that is always on. While users are able to turn off Siri, and other smart phone virtual assistants, they must first agree to the detailed privacy agreement before taking advantage of the valuable service.
Advantaged technology features, such as voice activated commands, offer consumers convenience and flexibility. These user-friendly options are able to save time and help those that are physically impaired. However, the companies that produce these amazing technologies have failed to proactively respond to privacy concerns raised by consumer advocacy groups. Still, local lawmakers can make a difference.
For example, California’s Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee recently unanimously voted and passed a bill that requires voice activated TV technology to be first accepted by the consumer. Additionally, it forbids manufacturers from using their voice records without approval from the consumer. This is an excellent example of how legislative bodies can protect consumers while enabling them to enjoy the benefits of the technology. Unfortunately, not all consumers are aware or protected by state laws. Consumers can educate themselves about technological privacy concerns through the Electronic Privacy Information Center.