Hey, Google and Alexa: Parents worry voice assistants can listen in on kids, survey finds

phys.org | 5/28/2018 | Staff
stefania (Posted by) Level 3
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You're cool chatting up Amazon Alexa, the Google Assistant and Siri and having each come alive when you utter the "Alexa," "Hey, Google" or "Hey, Siri" wake words.

But your kids are also engaging with the popular digital voices inside the smart speakers in your home and your big concern has mostly to do with privacy.

Takeaway - Study - USA - TODAY - February

That's the chief takeaway from a new study, exclusive to USA TODAY and conducted in February, by Common Sense Media and SurveyMonkey Audience.

More than 4 in 10 of the 1,127 parents of children ages 2 to 8 who participated in the survey say their family uses a smart speaker such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Nearly 6 in 10 say their young children interact with a voice-activated assistant such as Siri or Alexa.

Percent - Parents - Kids - Speakers - Someone

And 58 percent of parents whose kids use the smart speakers think it is at least moderately likely that someone could hack those speakers and listen in to their conversations. As a result, 40 percent have turned off their smart speaker's microphone to prevent it from listening.

The eavesdropping concerns are not entirely unfounded.

May - Stories - Oregon - Family - Conversations

You need only rewind to last May when stories emerged about an Oregon family whose private conversations were recorded by their Amazon Echo smart speaker and emailed to a random phone contact.

Amazon confirmed the incident at the time, and no, it wasn't a malicious hack. Alexa triggered the action after hearing an unforeseen combination of random words in a conversation the family didn't realize was being overheard.

Alexa - Wake - Word - Amazon - Assistant

It's important to recognize that while Alexa may be listening for its wake word, it is not constantly recording. But when Amazon's assistant does wake up, that's when what it hears is sent to the company's cloud servers, where your words are recorded and translated into commands. Alexa also keeps a record of all...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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