After reports emerged that contractors had reviewed voice recordings for Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant, all three companies moved to change their policies.
Although customers theoretically have the final word over their digital assistants, they’re not given the option of blocking the recordings outright. The companies say the data is collected and reviewed to determine how accurately the artificial intelligence devices understand language and interpret requests — especially after the wake word such as “Hey, Siri” or “Alexa” or “Okay, Google” brings it to life.
California Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R), who represents San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County, told The Washington Post that these companies are giving consumers a false choice between technology and privacy.
“We can protect people’s individual privacy and support the technologies and make sure they flourish and develop,” he said. “I think we can have both.”
Cunningham proposed an “anti-eavesdropping” bill earlier this year that would require the makers of smart speaker devices to get permission from users before recording and to remove identifying information from any personal data. It passed the state Assembly with bipartisan sponsorship and will be heard in the Senate in January. The Illinois Senate passed a similar bill, and it is now under the state House review.
The California lawmaker said his bill would set “a baseline of trust that I think has been breached by these companies” and would give consumers more control over their own data.
Cunningham said he and his wife have six Alexa devices in their home but didn’t know about the recording capability when they purchased them.
“I’m a former prosecutor,” he said. “We had to get warrants to record people’s conversations on their cellphones.”
A class-action lawsuit was filed in California by a parent and child on Thursday that accuses Apple of “unlawful and intentional recording of individuals’ confidential communications without their consent,” starting in October 2011.
In May 2018, a Portland, Ore., family notified Amazon after a work contact in Seattle told them he had received audio files of their recorded conversations via Alexa, Washington state’s KIRO 7 reported. (Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
To read more, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/08/12/alexa-delete-what-i-just-said-how-manage-voice-recordings-your-smart-devices/?fbclid=IwAR3Mqel3hqrU-0hSjl-M7mE5JjlqzVoAeusR7R9dZCvel_iUjhRqEPVWMJU&noredirect=on