Your Unexpected Roommate

I started watching Too Hot to Handle on Netflix like everyone else did this past weekend, and Lana, the speaker that records what everyone does in the villa, reminded me of a concern that I completely forgot about. Alexa and Google Home, your unexpected roommate! We all know the conspiracies surrounding in-home technology similar to Siri as they continually record all of your conversations. As products, they are extremely helpful since they literally are created to make your life easier, but still, there are some underlying uses that you agree to once you plug your device into the wall.

These devices are supposed to react to specific phrases such as “Hey Google” or “Alexa”. These voice recordings are then stored and recorded as data. Just the other day, I asked Alexa what the weather was going to be like today, and her response was along the lines of, “The weather today is going to be [blank] degrees and sunny. Is there anything else I can help you with today, Kylie?” The reason why this threw me off was that it recognized my voice. This is not my Alexa as I am currently staying with my family in Minnesota, and mine is in my New York apartment.

Hands holding phone Oleg Magni on Unsplash

How was Alexa able to recognize my voice? I’m sure it’s due to the stored data that is shared through the same Amazon account. While there may be concerns about the devices continually recording what you say, this data is likely to be used to recommend products that you want, trying to improve your overall experience. It is also likely that the devices are recording more often than you would expect.

If you are truly concerned about your data being recorded and saved, you can change the privacy/listening settings on the device, so your data isn’t stored. There are some really helpful tutorials online, just be sure to look up your specific device to get the proper instructions on how to change the settings.