Smart home speakers like Amazon Echo/Alexa and Google Home/Assistant already listen to users, but now, Amazon and Google want to know even more, according to Bloomberg.
A 2018 Adobe study predicted half of American homes will own a smart speaker by this year. The study found 32% of the country already owned a smart speaker, as reported by Fortune, and 16% planned on getting one during the holidays.
With smart speakers becoming more common, Bloomberg reported Amazon and Google are asking smart-home product companies to send a steady information stream from any device connected to their speakers. According to Bloomberg, this looks like your lights reporting to Amazon every time they’re turned on or off, even if you didn’t ask Alexa to do it.
Most people know their smart speakers store some type of data, but there’s been issues around privacy concerns before. In December 2018, an Amazon user in Germany requested data about his personal activities. Amazon ended up sending him 1,700 audio recordings of someone he didn’t know. Then in June, Google Home experienced a data leak that sent people’s exact location to hackers.
But, it also highlights concerns about how tech companies are normalizing a culture of surveillance. Where you once had private conversations in your home, devices may be listening in. And, now, even your smallest moves may be tracked.
Logitech, one of the companies approached by Google and Amazon, is trying to find a compromise. Ian Crow, a senior director with Logitech, told Bloomberg, “Oversharing for the sake of oversharing is probably never a good thing. We should have a good reason, and our users should agree it’s a good reason.”
People use smart speakers because they make life a little easier. But, that doesn’t mean companies like Amazon and Google need to know everything going on in your home.