Survey: 68 Percent Consumers Believe That Smart Home Appliances Sneakily Listen To Them

PCMag performed a survey and found that 68% of users believe that smart gadgets listen to them when they are not aware, and the data is shared with companies by those devices.

No doubt, smart home devices have made our lives easier, and offer us a range of benefits. However, a lot of consumers are concerned about a significant potential drawback - using a device that is always on in the house, and could be listening to the conversation of users.

PCMag performed a survey on 2,075 consumers from the United States asking them their opinion and preferences about smart home devices. PCMag found that consumers were concerned about their privacy. Privacy was the top concern of these users regarding smart home appliances. According to survey, the consumers were concerned about their privacy particularly while using smart speakers. These smart speakers come with built-in voice assistants and maybe listening to everything you say.

The voice assistants, these smart speakers have built-in them, include Google Assistant and Alexa. The majority of the respondents said that they believe smart home appliances listen to users even when they are not aware. They said that these smart home appliances share the data with companies who are the providers of these products. PCMag found that 68% of people believe that smart home appliances share their data with the companies behind these products.

People who bought a portal from companies including Google, Amazon, and even Facebook were concerned about their privacy. The rest of 32% of respondents stated that they believe smart home appliances do not listen to them, and according to them, these smart home devices are not a threat to their privacy.

According to PCMag, the recent reports state that Amazon hires thousands of employees only to listen to what users are saying in the recording proximity of an Echo device which is Alexa-enabled. The employees after listening to users have to transcribe and annotate the data gathered. Then the Amazon employees feed back anything they learned into Alexa’s software. However, Amazon states that this happens only with a small number of recordings of the consumers. According to Amazon, the company records the conversation of users only to improve the consumer experience of their products.

Smart assistant devices including Alexa are designed to listen to users only when triggered by any voice command or some other wake word. However, it seems that this is not always the case, and these products might be listening to you even when you are not aware. If you are wondering what steps you could take to protect your privacy while using smart home appliances such as smart speakers or other connected products, you can disable the active listening feature on smart assistants such as Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, or Cortona.

Read next: Tech Talk: These Graphics Show The Creepy Things You Didn't Know Alexa and Siri Could Do
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