Google wants users to alert guests about eavesdropping by smart speakers


Next time when a guest enters your house and is in the vicinity of a smart speaker aka voice assistant- say Alexa; then you better alert them in advance that they are virtual assistants in a home that could be carrying eavesdropping.

This is what Rick Osterloh, the Senior Vice President of Devices at Google is advising his users.

Speaking to BBC, Osterloh said that he would probably warn his guests as soon as he/she enters his house as they are around a dozen virtual assistants in his dwelling. He wants the manufactures to induce the intelligence into the speakers to indicate their presence which might happen shortly.

It is estimated that around 28% of UK households use smart speakers such as Google Home or Amazon Echo and in general these devices work by listening to what is being said around them and responding when addressed.

Irrespective of the user’s permission, often such devices are found to be listening to what is going on in the vicinity. And this is where some security researchers are suspecting that all the intimate voice recordings which are not meant to be ‘recorded’ are being transmitted to remote servers.

Now, the Google chief is urging homeowners to make visitors aware of the technology presence before they complain about privacy invasion.

According to a survey carried out by a British Council in association with Channel 4, many of the children are now going to sleep with a story heard from Alexa instead of a parent. And many of them are found starting their school by turning pages in books like the screen swipe done on mobile phones.

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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