If you’re someone who owns a smart device (or expects to receive one this holiday season), you may be concerned about the security of these devices. Apple, Amazon, and Google home gadgets can be convenient ways to consume information or communicate with others, but given these companies’ controversial histories of recording and reviewing voice data without users’ consent, a healthy amount of suspicion is understandable. In 2019, Amazon, Google, and Apple all suspended human review of user audio recordings in the midst of user outrage over privacy concerns. Essentially, contractors were hired to listen to anonymized user audio clips to improve AI capabilities. Google in particular has been notoriously vague when attempting to explain whether or not the information from voice recording is shared with third parties for ad personalization.
Fortunately for owners of Google Home, Apple HomePod, or Amazon Echo devices, there are ways to stop strangers from listening to your voice commands.
- To stop Amazon employees from listening to your Alexa voice recordings:
- Open the Alexa app
- Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data.
- Now, select Choose How Long to Save Recordings > Don’t Save Recordings > Confirm
- Finally, scroll down to Help Improve Alexa and turn the Use of Voice Recordings off
- To do this for your Google Home:
- Open the Google Home app and click on your Profile Icon
- Navigate to > My Activity > Saving Activity.
- Now, turn Include Audio Recordings off
- To do this for your Apple iPhone or HomePod:
- If you’ve chosen to opt-in to allow Apple to receive your audio data…
- Go to Settings > Privacy > Analytics and Improvements > turn off Improve Siri & Dictation
If you’d like to ensure the privacy of your own devices (smart or not) feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.