Dr Hannah Fry is a mathematician and an expert on tech company algorithms, she recently revealed to Daily Mail that Amazon's Alexa should only be kept downstairs as it appears that Amazon might be eavesdropping your conversation at home.
The technology in the voice-activated assistants currently on the market work the same way; it activates the device with a trigger word for example "Alexa", but experts have just found out that the devices keep recording even afterwards.
The giant Amazon denied that its digital assistant Alexa is recording conversation, but earlier this year sources have told the media company Bloomberg that some workers in Costa Rica, India, Romania or the US have access to 1,000 audio clips a day to review in order to improve the devices capacities. The recordings included a woman signing in the shower and someone talking about private bank details.
Dr Fry personally asked the technology companies for the collected data on her and noticed that everyday normal conversations were recorded. She then decided to keep the device only downstairs out of private areas and to treat it as any other guest in the house. She mentioned that : "I have both an Alexa and a Google voice-activated device and I regularly turn them both off. People really must set their own limits." Turning the devices off during private conversations is a great advice! She also said that we have to be careful about companies offering devices with built-in microphone at low price. With the technology being more and more advanced everyday, it is important to be careful.
The mathematician also said that : "There are people who are very senior in the tech world who will not have so much as a smartphone in their bedroom". Perhaps it is not only the smart speakers that can violate our privacy.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, Dr Fry’s Christmas will perform a lecture on Christmas that will air on BBC on Boxing Day, December 27 and 28.