Smart Speaker Ownership Surrenders More People’s Privacy

Americans are embracing smart technology with open arms. A recent Edison Research study on smart speaker ownership finds a threefold increase in the past two years.

The top choice with smart speakers is listening to AM-FM radio stations like KTRH on iHeartRadio. Google Home and Alexa are a preferred choice for listening to music, audio books and podcasts, but James Bier, co-founder and head of Apollo Staffing, a firm specializing in the tech industry, says that comes with a price.

“There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” Bier tells KTRH News. “The cost of them is really minimal now. They’re almost giving them away. There is always a price to pay, and that price is our data and our privacy.”

The Edison study found 30% of Americans report owning a smart speaker, up from 10% in the second quarter of 2017.

On Wednesday Apple apologized and promised changes to the way the company uses contractors to listen to customer’s voice commands. An investigative report earlier this month revealed Apple’s practice of allowing contractors to access private conversations of users. The company says in a blog post they will allow customers to opt in to allowing the eavesdropping.

As electronics all go “smart” we are connecting more and more companies’ access to our data. “It’s tough to escape. Everything that we touch virtually any appliance, from a stove to a refrigerator to a blender can now be inner-connected,” Bier advises.

A 2018 Harris Poll of consumers found 75% said they wouldn’t own a product from a company they don’t believe will protect their privacy.

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