Data privacy is such a big phrase these days with technology, especially when checking out the scandals involving everything from Sony to Facebook. Nowadays people are protective over their data as much as they are with their identities. Their data is their identity. And platforms everywhere, from Google Home to Amazon Alexa and more, are seeking to assure the masses that while those smart speakers penetrating the markets aren't in fact penetrating your digital souls and ruling your existence from behind the iron curtain.
But How Can We Be so Sure That Google Home or Amazon Alexa Aren't Ruling Our Cyberspace (and Real) Worlds?
This goes without saying that the whole Internet of Things mentality gets people a little shook up, thinking that we'll be living in an age where machines will take over. Watch out: the microwave will know your every move. Here's the grit on Google with smart speakers connected to the smart home: these companies are now collecting all that data about when you turn on or off your light and lock or unlock your doors.
So now you see the slight concern. The reason why smart speakers are so incredibly convenient is that with this kind of technology, platforms like Google and Alexa are continuously asking gadget makers like Logitech and Hunter Fan Co. for constant streams of information designed to better serve the homeowners in their everyday lives.
In other words, it's all about automation and machine learning. Give your home enough time, and it just may pinpoint exactly when you go to sleep, come home from work or school, eat dinner, and even have sex. It's astonishing, really. And for some, it may be a little disturbing.
In essence, these smart speakers with Internet connectivity to your entire home may know the ins and outs of your exact behavioral patterns from start to finish, but the question remains: is that too much of a data privacy violation or not?
The Truth Is a Lot of Device Makers Are Crying Foul, Saying That There's Not Enough Control With Users
At this point in time, there is no public guideline. No limit. You turn your TV off, some company's recording exactly what you did and storing it as information about when you sleep. Period. However, while device companies are raising an eyebrow, oftentimes users are not and perhaps simply don't care.
In fact, both Amazon and Google simply say that the data collection simply makes it that much easier for people to manage all of their home electronics without even lifting a finger, and the truth is they do have a point. Automatic status updates simply reduce times for voice commands and other steps, completely automating a house for any owner.
This undoubtedly makes the smart speaker one of the fastest technology categories ever, right next to the likes of drone tech. As this article currently gets "automatically" written by a smart word processor (not), Amazon spokespeople near and far repeatedly state that there is no sales of user data and information for the purposes of advertising, but we've heard that story before. The question is should we honestly believe it. Better yet, is it necessarily a bad thing that our everyday data of our home life is used for advertising purposes?
Hard to Say.... Given That There Really Isn't Any Indication That Google or Amazon Are Using Our Data at All
They may do so in the future, though. It's possible. And there is cause for concern. The good thing is that Amazon and Google have obviously taken important steps to ensure the consumer that they're not spying on them in bed or in the shower with the user ability to delete smart-home data at will. However there isn't any option to cease data collection on specific devices. In fact, the only way to stop these smart speakers from "invading" our homes is to simply unplug them.
We truly do live in an age of paranoia, for good reason: identity theft, computer hacking and more. And as a result, companies like Google and Amazon are consistently under a microscope. Ask yourself the obvious question: do you care that Google or Amazon knows when you turn on the bathroom light? Realistically, if it's no big deal, then sure: get a smart speaker; if it turns your stomach, just stay away from the whole IoT phenomenon and live your life the way you want. There's nothing wrong with that!
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