Bloomberg reports that Alexa is not only listing to us 24 hours a day so as to know when the owner calls on her for assistance, but also recording everything said in the room and sending it back to headquarters.
The Intercept reported earlier this year that employees of Amazon-owned Ring manually identify vehicles and people in videos captured by the company’s doorbell cameras, an effort to better train the software to do that work itself.
“You don’t necessarily think of another human listening to what you’re telling your smart speaker in the intimacy of your home,” said Florian Schaub, a professor at the University of Michigan who has researched privacy issues related to smart speakers. “I think we’ve been conditioned to the [assumption] that these machines are just doing magic machine learning. But the fact is there is still manual processing involved.”
“Whether that’s a privacy concern or not depends on how cautious Amazon and other companies are in what type of information they have manually annotated, and how they present that information to someone,” he added.
I would say that, given the revelations recently about how Appeal, Facebook and our other high-tech monopolies treat customers’ personal information, there is no reason to believe that any of manufacturers of these machines can be trusted to record in our homes.