A week back my sister and I were lying on the couch and were talking about ordering pizza. Suddenly a voiceover comes, order for 2 farmhouse pizzas has been placed at Dominos. Both of us were startled and were staring at the speaker on the shelf. Later that day I was wondering if they eavesdrop on us. “Smart speakers like Alexa, Siri, and Google home end up recording 43 seconds of audio each time when they accidentally activate 19 times a day”, said a new report from Northeastern University.
Researchers at Northeastern University have five different types of smart speakers, i.e, a first-generation Google Home Mini, a first-generation Apple HomePod, Microsoft’s Harman Kardon Invoke, and the second and third-generation Amazon Echo Dots. During the research, they activated the smart speakers to listen to the various television shows that lasted for approximately 125 hours. The shows played included Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, Big Bang Theory, and Narcos. They monitored the situation for if, when, and how these speakers get triggered automatically. After a proper study, there were 2 findings. Firstly, they don’t constantly record the conversation. Secondly, the recordings lasted from 6 to 43 seconds without the authentication or even the knowledge of their owners.
According to researcher David Choffens at Northeastern University, long activations are rare, but they might happen. He also said that the anecdotes aren’t wrong either. The researchers also mentioned that the surroundings in which the test was conducted did not fully replicate the real situation. The results can become a base for taking considerable actions. Like every technology, this technology has made everything available at the comfort of your couch. However, these smart speakers come with a disadvantage stating, “Privacy is a myth when you are with us.” The only fail-proof strategy to get rid of these privacy intruders is to switch them off when not in use. Another solution to this problem can be not to buy them.