We all love the convenience that Big Tech firms afford us in the 21st century, but does it mean we involuntarily sacrifice our privacy by buying into these services? The answer might very well be yes, according to a class-action lawsuit that will make you think twice about using your favorite voice assistant Siri. Apple, the company behind the Siri persona, stands accused of violating the California privacy law and the federal Wiretap Act.
Not only that but there are also lawsuits of a similar nature against Google and Amazon. The common denominator seems to be that these giant tech companies are illegally recording conversations to extract information sold to advertisers. These allegations come when voice assistant features and smart speakers are becoming more popular by the day. Still, it’s only a lawsuit, and the claims are only valid if Big Tech is proven guilty. So, that means you have nothing to worry about, right?
It never hurts to be cautious around voice assistant technology
As mentioned, Apple, Google, and Amazon are all facing similar lawsuits, and the plaintiffs claim they are listening in on your private discussions. All three companies have voice assistant features. Coincidence? Right now, there’s no way to know for sure. Google insists they don’t retain audio recordings. Amazon says they manually review a tiny portion of Alexa requests with the consent of users only to improve user experience and not to sell to third parties.
But because the concern has already been raised, there’s no harm in exercising some due diligence. It’s best to ensure your privacy is protected in the worst-case scenario.
For starters, it’s important to avoid accidentally activating your voice assistant. By way of example, simply saying “Alexa” will activate this feature if you have an Amazon smart device.
“Okay, Google” and “Hi Siri” will do the trick for Google and Apple smart devices, respectively.
The other thing is to make sure all your privacy settings don’t have any loopholes. You don’t want your recordings to be saved? Here’s how you do it:
- Open the Alexa app
- Click the privacy menu
- Go to Manage your Alexa data
- Click the “Choose how long to save recordings option.”
- Choose “Don’t save recordings.”
- Go to your Google Account
- Click on Data and Privacy
- Click on Web & App Activity
- Uncheck the box that’s next to “include audio recordings.”
- Also, uncheck the default settings
According to Apple, they will only retain your recordings if you opt-in by changing your settings.
No doubt, more information will be revealed as the progress of the lawsuits. For now, it’s up to users to do what they can to protect their privacy.