Smart Home systems such as Google Home, Alexa and Apple HomePod make our lives easier. But what about your personal data when you use these systems? Online privacy also includes the privacy of your Smart Home system, even if you may not immediately think of it. Is your privacy guaranteed or is your data scrambled? And what can you do yourself to make your Smart Home system safer?
Your Privacy at Google Home
The voice assistant Google Home stores store data to learn your routines and energy saving, but unfortunately at the expense of your privacy. For example, after the release of the Google Home Mini in America, it came to light that the speaker was always listening and sent the recorded information to Google’s servers. So also personal conversations that happened to be held near the speaker.
You May Like: Digital Divide: 5 Examples of the Time
However, this was due to an error in the hardware that was quickly resolved by Google to prevent image damage. Google Home now has a button to turn off the microphone. Also, listening is only done when you put ‘Hey Google’ in front of your command. You can also listen to and delete all recorded commands.
Amazon also lets you indicate on its Smart Home assistant Alexa how much data you want to share. Sharing more data ensures that the assistant gets to know you better and can execute your commands faster, for example to save energy, but also ensures that more data ends up on the server.
With Alexa you can easily delete your voice commands by saying ‘Alexa, delete everything I said today’ at the end of the day. You can also delete all recordings at once via the privacy settings on the Alexa app. In the same place it is possible to delete all stored user information. You can also choose not to share user information with Amazon for the improvement of their products. All these settings can be found under ‘Privacy’ in the Alexa app.
Is Your Personal Data The Safest At Apple?
Apple is even more careful with the privacy of its customers. For example, your voice is only recorded by the Apple HomePod when you say the words ‘Hey Siri’ before you give a command. After these words, the system will record your voice, but will send it to the server at Apple under an anonymous identification number that cannot be traced back to your Apple ID (Google will still link this to your account).
You May Like: What Is Digital Literacy And Why Is It Important?
You can reset this anonymous number at any time. If you want to be able to lead third-party apps with your voice, you must give explicit permission for this, otherwise the necessary recordings will not be shared with these apps. You can change the saved settings and permissions for apps at any time.