So, you got yourself a Google Home or Amazon Echo in your Smart Home installation? I bet you have thought about what your device collects and what the providing company does with it?
Well, one answer is perhaps here: Ars Technica reports that a New Hampshire court has ordered Amazon to give up Echo recordings in a murder investigation.
Personally I can’t see the problem in this particular case. The authorities are investigating a murder, and it turned out that the murder probably took place in a kitchen where the echo device was located at the time. Of course they have to investigate if the recordings can contain evidence that can help out.
The world of Smart Home is rapidly evolving. I have invested time and money there myself – currently our home is being run by Home Assistant and Node-RED and I love it. Personally I see Smart Home and Home Automation as something that triggers the experimental side of me. It’s definitely a hobby of mine by now, and I can tell you that it do cost some money. Surely, not everyone in my household are impressed though…
I would very much like to have some voice assistant device at home as well. As of today, Google Home would be the device of choice since it’s the only one supporting Swedish. The privacy guard in me isn’t that thrilled. I don’t foresee any crimes taking place in our home, so I really wouldn’t mind the risk of authorities ordering out recordings. Not from that perspective.
I don’t know when the device (or the service) would be recording audio (or record what’s being said) in any of the two devices mentioned. But I do know that in our home (as well as all of our homes I would guess) we do share secrets among us. Like what’s going on at work and health states of family and friends. If we’re about to bid for a house and what would be the tolerances. You get the picture, there’s pretty much information there that can be potential harmful if it gets to the wrong people.
I guess I’ll have to think this voice assistant thing through…