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Tech & Science Hey Alexa, stop listening! Employees urged to turn off smart speakers while working from home during the coronavirus over fears of privacy risks

02:20  24 march  2020
02:20  24 march  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Hey Alexa , stop listening ! A law firm is advising staff to turn off smart speakers while they work from home . The Northeastern University study discovered that smart speakers were triggered by words they often misheard and that they often delivered bizarre responses anywhere from about 2 to

Employees urged to turn off smart speakers while working from home during the coronavirus over fears of privacy risks . 02:20 24 march 2020. Now that millions of people are currently working home due to the coronavirus outbreak, employers are urging their stuff to power down the

Tech companies are known to listen in on private conversation via its smart speakers in order to 'improve voice-recognition features.'

Now that millions of people are currently working home due to the coronavirus outbreak, employers are urging their stuff to power down the technology in order to keep it from listening to confidential phone calls.

Mishcon de Reya LLP, the UK law firm that advised Princess Diana on her divorce, advised staff to mute or shut off listening devices like Amazon's Alexa or Google's voice assistant when they talk about client matters at home, according to a partner at the firm.

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Now that millions of people are currently working home due to the coronavirus outbreak, employers are urging their stuff to power down the Video products such as Ring and baby monitors are also on the list of devices to be away of while working from home , as first reported on by Bloomberg.

With the country on near-lockdown and companies having employees work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, the problems of Employers don’t want employees discussing confidential matters in an environment where someone could be listening . The solution: Turn off those devices

Video products such as Ring and baby monitors are also on the list of devices to be away of while working from home, as first reported on by Bloomberg.

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a close up of a bottle: Mishcon de Reya LLP, the UK law firm that advised Princess Diana on her divorce, advised staff to mute or shut off listening devices like Amazon's Alexa or Google's voice assistant when they talk about client matters at home © Provided by Daily Mail Mishcon de Reya LLP, the UK law firm that advised Princess Diana on her divorce, advised staff to mute or shut off listening devices like Amazon's Alexa or Google's voice assistant when they talk about client matters at home

Mishcon de Reya partner Joe Hancock, who also heads the firm's cybersecurity efforts, told Bloombger: 'Perhaps we're being slightly paranoid but we need to have a lot of trust in these organisations and these devices.'

'We'd rather not take those risks.'

The coronavirus is forcing many businesses to close their offices, forcing employees to work from home, which is leaving many employers concerned about privacy and safety.

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They will listen to clips to make sure Alexa is working as intended – improving the system all round. Amazon warns you that turning the setting off will mean "new features may not work well for you". Alexa will also get more used to your voice, and better understand what you want her to do over time.

Mishcon de Reya are not only advising their attorneys to power down the smart speakers, but are also asking that the technology is nowhere near their work space.

The firm is not only advising their attorneys to power down the smart speakers, but are also asking that the technology is nowhere near their work space © Provided by Daily Mail The firm is not only advising their attorneys to power down the smart speakers, but are also asking that the technology is nowhere near their work space

The firm worries about the devices being compromised, less so with name-brand products like Alexa, but more so for a cheap knock-off devices, Hancock explained.

Although Alexa and Google Home only wake when a specific command is said by a user, a study has found that the devices turn on up to 19 times per day for an average of 43 seconds each time by words misunderstood from people speaking in the same room or heard from televisions.

That means the speakers using popular virtual assistants like Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana and the unnamed digital helper on Google Home and Nest devices are listening to unknowing users.

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Most smart speakers have a physical button to disable the microphone, so a private conversation can't be recorded to begin with. You can hit that when you're having sensitive conversations. Go to the settings and turn off mic access to all but essential apps such as voice recorders or video conferencing.

Amazon Alexa Reviewers Can Access Home Addresses of Customers. Listen to article. 5:30. While there’s no indication Amazon employees with access to the data have attempted to track The Alexa smartphone app prompts users to enter a home address when they set up a smart speaker

The Northeastern University study discovered that smart speakers were triggered by words they often misheard and that they often delivered bizarre responses anywhere from about 2 to 19 times per day.

The most confused, according to the February 2020 study, was Siri, which responds from Apple's Home Pod.

While designed to respond to 'Hey Siri,' the report says that 'Apple Homepod, activations occurred with words that rhymed or sounded similar to the term.

Examples include, 'He clearly', 'They very', 'Hey sorry', 'Okay, Yeah', 'And seriously', 'Hi Mrs', 'Faith's funeral', 'Historians', 'I see', 'I'm sorry', 'They say'.

A more alarming discovery in the report found that the speakers turned on randomly and stayed on for 20 to 43 seconds.

The study highlights how Google admitted in 2017 that its Google Home Mini speaker, newly unveiled at the time, was guilty of eavesdropping on users.

Recordings found by Dutch broadcaster VRT revealed two years later that the same speakers were again set off after misunderstanding certain words.

a cup of coffee sitting on top of a wooden table: Although Alexa and Google Home only wake when a specific command is said by a user, a study has found that the devices turn on up to 19 times per day for an average of 43 seconds each time by words misunderstood from people speaking in the same room or heard from televisions © Provided by Daily Mail Although Alexa and Google Home only wake when a specific command is said by a user, a study has found that the devices turn on up to 19 times per day for an average of 43 seconds each time by words misunderstood from people speaking in the same room or heard from televisions

To make matters even worse, the devices were discovered listening in on private, sometimes intimate conversations.

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Regardless of whether or not employees showed coronavirus -related symptoms, 88% of organizations have encouraged or required their employees to work from home , according Nearly all organizations (97%) have cancelled work -related travel in response to the coronavirus pandemic

Amazon speakers constantly ' listen ' for the wake word ' Alexa – but sometimes they record private conversations Responding to last week's comments from a former Amazon exec over Alexa privacy fears His quotes do not accurately portray how Alexa works . "We take privacy very seriously at

Recordings of pillow talk, couples fighting, confidential business calls and even discussions with children were being transcribed by Google contractors in what the tech giant said was an effort to understand different languages spoke

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