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Alexa or Google Home Could Be Spying on You

The AI assistants you think are helping you could be monitoring your every move.

Alexa and Google Home are among the most innovative artificial intelligence applications in recent years, but they could be spying on you. Smart-home voice assistants can actually record the information you give them, regardless of whether you’re asking for the weather or requesting a special song as you sit down to dinner.

Read More: Vulnerability Found in Alexa App, What Should You Do?

There are lots of positives to using these devices, but they may know more about you than you’d like. Here’s a breakdown of why Alexa and Google Home could be a detriment and not a help.

How It Works
These devices may not be listening to everything you say, but once you request an interaction with “Alexa” or “OK Google,” they will record you. As soon as these devices hear these keywords, they will instantly upload everything uttered to cloud servers.

The reason for this action is Alexa and Google Home need to store information in the cloud in order to respond back to you. The data is processed into machine-comprehensible instructions and the devices return with an answer to your command. For example, if you ask Alexa to read you an email or an SMS, this information could be stored on cloud servers forever.

What Else Should I Know?
An estimated 31 million Alexa devices have been sold already, as well as 14 million Google Home devices, which is a dream for marketers. Your data could be compiled and used for marketing purposes and all your data will be concentrated in a central place. Having all your data exposed in one area could make it easy for hackers and cybercriminals to target you.

What Can I Do?
You are able to delete the information that Alexa and Google Home collects about you by going to your Amazon or Google account and deleting old recordings. But, if you do this, the devices will unlearn some of the information they know about like your email account to read messages out loud or your musical preferences.

Be careful which devices you link to Alexa or Google Home. Remember that sensitive, personal information may belong to the device as much as it belongs to you. Another option is you can choose when to turn off a smart home device’s connection to your information. For example, if you’re not using an online shopping feature on your device, turn it off.