Voice assistants can be helpful, but their “always on” functionality can leave you vulnerable…
A Jolley | Hadaway Short.
By this point if you’re like us, you’re probably already a little tired of voice assistants like Siri being integrated into seemingly every new device–it sometimes feels as if we are going to get these “helpful” assistants whether we want them or not!
An example of this came up recently when one of our coworkers examined their phone after a conversation with someone and had discovered they had inadvertently triggered Siri, who had decided she was being asked to take notes! In this case, Siri was bad at dictation and the conversation wasn’t confidential so the incident didn’t present any real risk…but our coworker had thought Siri was turned off.
In our coworker’s case it was simply a setting that was not carried over when they upgraded their phone and nothing nefarious, but it serves as a reminder that these virtual assistants are frequently re-enabled by their developers during software updates, and sometimes automatically when certain other options are enabled. For example, a user may turn on a voice dictation feature and not realize that feature relies upon the full assistant package (including always-on functionality), which will be activated as well.
We hope this will serve as a reminder to occasionally double check to make sure those privacy settings you enabled have remained enabled–they have a habit of mysteriously resetting themselves to more permissive levels. Finally, you should also keep in mind that if you can activate an assistant by speaking, that device is always listening…and that is something which can be easy to forget, until something comes along to remind you.
Original article by Dan Hadaway and Matt Jolley.
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