Smart speakers sort of know more about you than you may dare to think

Smart speakers know more about you than you may dare to think
Smart speakers are slowly becoming a natural part of our lives. If you need a reminder on how popular they are, you need not look further than our own list of best smart speakers of 2023. We’re seeing not only loads of competition, but also improvements in quality and capabilities.

That, however, has raised numerous privacy concerns over the years, and a peak may be imminent at this point. And is that even a wonder, considering that Amazon sold more than 30 million smart speakers on a global level in the first three months of 2022 alone? Kind reminder, Amazon is a huge retailer, but there are also tons of other stores too.

So smart speakers have made their way into a bunch of people’s homes, what’s the big deal? Well, VPNOverview — a site that’s made online security and privacy its business — has shared some concerning findings that reveal how smart speakers are collecting more data on users than it may seem.

Smart Speakers are also Smart Listeners with no days off

It comes as no surprise that smart speakers are listening to you at all times, as a huge part of their assistant capabilities are dependent on that function. Sure, you could turn that off completely, but then how do you justify paying the often hefty price tag? And not only that, you’d be giving up a ton of comfort that there is to be found through owning such a smart gizmo, from smart home controls to handsfree media playback.

But is this yet another reason to point fingers at Big Tech’s again? Apple, Google and Amazon are promising that almost no data is being collected, but what about the other devices that your speakers connect to? At this point, we’ve got smart pet feeders and washing machines that may not show it, but could very well tap into your speaker’s microphone.

Naturally, this raises the question of moderation, which we rarely ask ourselves or the manufacturers of this impactful technology. After all, even if there is no malicious intent, who’s responsible for keeping these devices protected, as to not allow hackers to budge in and find out your favorite pizza — or, let’s be real — the info of the card you paid that pizza with.

Re: It’s 2023, and we’re still talking about passwords and 2FA

In most cases, VPNOverview’s team found out that customers prioritize convenience over safety, which is definitely not the way you’d like to go about it. That is dangerous not only for separate users, but for smart speaker manufacturers too. They might get blamed for any mishaps, even when they’ve had nothing to do with the situation.

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After all, if your smart toaster decides to steal your card’s CVV, your Apple Home Pod will effectively play only the role of a messenger in a connection which you’ve authorized.

But is there anything that the major players can do? Well, they already kind of are, and here’s a rundown of what TechRadar got from them as a response:

All in all, not half bad. But again, the potential issue here is what third-parties beyond industry leaders may do if given the opportunity to steal some info on the side. It will be interesting to see if this topic grows in popularity throughout 2023, but for the time being: make sure to take care of your data, for it is yours to take care of.
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