Last week, Bloomberg reported that Amazon employees might just be listening to your Alexa commands. But do Echo owners care? Amazon employs thousands of people around the world to improve performance of the Alexa digital assistant, and recordings are transcribed and fed back into the system to prevent gaps in human speech comprehension.
A recent survey by digital privacy and security company ExpressVPN found a link between privacy concerns and purchase intent. When asked which brands people trusted most with their personal data, these were the results:
31% said Amazon Alexa
29% said Google Assistant
11% said Apple HomeKit
8% said Facebook Portal
When asked which smart home brands’ products they were most likely to purchase (or had purchased over the last holiday season), once again, Amazon came top:
11% Facebook Portal
With the recent Bloomberg revelations, however, ExpressVPN is surmising that consumers’ perceptions may very well change, challenging Amazon’s position as the most trusted brand. The survey also found that 82% said Amazon Echo’s invasion of personal privacy could affect their purchase decision, 52% cited concerns about smart speaker and voice assistant device manufacturers using the device to listen in on conversations, 35% would return it to the store if their device was being used to monitor their conversations, and 9% would throw the device in the garbage.
Harold Li, vice president of ExpressVPN, said “This news about Amazon employees listening to private conversations recorded by Alexa speaks to the very fears that many of us have about smart home devices. These revelations will no doubt make consumers think twice before buying, as our research has shown that privacy concerns and brand trust are crucial in the smart home space. It’s more than reasonable for consumers to expect that companies like Amazon do not invade the sanctity of private conversations in their own homes, and we should demand that companies respect that.”
Do our forum members have concerns about privacy with Alexa or other voice-activated platforms? Let us know your thoughts…