Is it time to start speaking in code in your living room? Recent tech buzz has fingered voice control on your smart TV as a security risk, listening in on your conversations in order to utilize voice commands, and then sending that information out to third parties. The thought of “always listening” devices using voice commands can seem like a scary thing; however, it’s not as scary as it sounds, just yet. Still it’s important to be aware of potential risks as the growth of speech-to-text technology will more frequently become integrated into new devices entering the market.
How Does Voice Recognition Work?
There are already many different types of devices on the market today with the ability to utilize voice commands. Most of these “always listening” devices are listening for a specific keyword to activate the voice recognition software, such as the iPhone’s “Hey Siri” command or Google Now’s “Ok Google.” Once the software has identified the keyword for the device, it then engages the voice recognition software and records what is spoken to help carry out verbal commands. Once the user has spoken the commands, the voice data is then sent to a company that translates the voice to text. In addition to voice translations, other third parties may be involved as well. For example, if you ask for the weather report from your device, it will send your location information to the weather service. So while these devices are constantly listening to us, they’re not constantly recording. Not until they recognize that keyword.
As always, the most important facet of cyber defense is you. Educate yourself about the devices you’re interested in- research user reviews online and delve into privacy policies. It’s best to be fully informed about the device you intend to use, and how it intends to use you. Luckily, the market for the Internet of Things is a competitive one, so if you run into any issues that concern you about your privacy, shop around until you find the device that is the right fit for you.