Anti-Eavesdropping Act, which would limit storing of recordings, passes first committee
By LEVI SUMAGAYSAY
A bill making its way through the California Legislature would prohibit makers of smart home speakers from saving or storing recordings without users’ explicit consent.
The Anti-Eavesdropping Act, which cleared its first committee Wednesday, would also ban smart speaker device manufacturers from sharing with third parties recordings of verbal commands or requests heard by the devices. Under the bill, Amazon, Google, Apple and other makers of smart speakers may store recordings only when consumers give their permission in writing.
“Recent revelations about how certain companies have staff that listen in to private conversations via connected smart speakers further shows why this bill is necessary to protect privacy in the home,” said Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, R-San Luis Obispo, the bill’s author, in a statement.
Last month, Bloomberg reported that thousands of workers around the world listen to what users tell Alexa, the virtual assistant in Amazon Echo devices. Amazon said those workers listen to and transcribe recordings as a way to improve the technology, which is voice-activated and allows users to ask the devices to play music, read books, make phone calls and more. In a subsequent article, Bloomberg also said those workers also could access location information for Alexa users, and look up home addresses if they wanted to.
To read more, https://www.ocregister.com/2019/05/02/alexa-dont-store-this-recording-california-bill-targets-smart-home-speakers/