Technology: When smart devices watch you, what do they do with the data? - PressFrom - US

TechnologyWhen smart devices watch you, what do they do with the data?

20:35  20 june  2019
20:35  20 june  2019 Source:

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Since so many smart devices are collecting personal data on us, it begs the question: What do data miners use all this information for? What do the raw statistics of our lives matter to the likes of Google, Apple or Amazon? Gathering and storing all those files takes a lot of effort, so what’s the payoff? And how concerned should we be that tech giants are hoarding such everyday intelligence?

When smart devices watch you, what do they do with the data?© Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc.

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I knew when you turned on your TV and how long you watched it for. Fun fact about the Hill household: they don't watch a lot of television, but The devices Kashmir bought range from useful to annoying. But the thing they all had in common was sharing data with the companies that made them.

And only when you say that wake word, does the device actually send what you 're saying back to But they do give you an out if you really are uncomfortable with it, which a lot of people BARRETT: One good way to think about these devices - it's all just data . So in the same way that police often go

Generally, developers say that these data points help their smart devices run better. You may believe that, or you may not. You may feel comfortable with it, or you may be weirded out. Whatever the case, there are often ways to avoid observation. Read on to see what data these gadgets collect and what you can do about it.

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Amazon Echo

For Amazon Echo to work, the microphone has to hear its “wake phrase.” Echo records every single command and keeps those audio files in a special database. To developers, this is a way to refine the technology and cater to your specific voice patterns.

The more data the system collects, the better it will understand and respond to you. But many users find this disturbing.

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If you don’t know that, you ’re crazy.” Columbo, the shambling LAPD TV detective played by Peter Falk Detectives across the US are learning the value of connected devices . Richard Dabate claimed a Amazon initially resisted a police request for Echo data , citing the first amendment, but relented

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In the case of Alexa, the easiest way to delete everything you said in the past day is to literally say, “Alexa, delete everything I said today.” I know, it sounds like wishing for more wishes, but Amazon assures us the trick works, at least for recent commands.

There's still the problems of Alexa always listening and what to do about your old recordings.

Let's tackle the old recordings first. Unless the delete command is expanded to include all recordings, you still have to remove old files manually. Here's what to do:

1. Open the Alexa app and go into the "Settings" section.

2. Select "History" and you'll see a list of all the entries.

3. Select an entry and tap the Delete button.

4. If you want to delete all the recordings with a single click, you must visit the "Manage Your Content and Devices" page at

As for Alexa and Echo devices always listening, well, you could turn off each of the devices, but then what's the point of having them? The real issue, we discovered, is that Amazon employees around the world are listening to us and making transcriptions.

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Here's how to stop that:

1. Open the Alexa app on your phone.

2. Tap the menu button on the top left of the screen.

3. Select "Settings" then "Alexa Account."

4. Choose "Alexa Privacy."

5. Select "Manage how your data improves Alexa."

6. Turn off the toggle next to "Help Develop New Features."

7. Turn off the toggle next to your name under "Use Messages to Improve Transcriptions."

When smart devices watch you, what do they do with the data?© Reviewed / Florence Ion The Google Assistant lights stay dimly lit as your device listens for your next command.

Google Assistant

Google Assistant has the "OK Google" wake-up call, but the company introduced the My Account tool that lets you access your recordings and delete them if you want. You can also tell Google to stop recording your voice for good.

Here’s how to turn off the "OK Google" wake phrase: On Android, go to Settings >> Google >> Search & Now >> Voice and turn "OK Google" detection off.

Siri and iPhone Tracking Apps

Siri doesn’t have the same “virtual assistant” cachet as Echo and Home, but it does have a wake phrase, which means it’s always listening for the words “Hey Siri.”

To prevent this unwanted surveillance, just do the following: On your iPhone, go to Settings >> Siri & Search >> toggle off "Listen for Hey Siri."

Apple was recently criticized for harvesting data while you sleep and sending it to third parties. Apple has historically avoided flak for these types of privacy issues, but these apps slipped through the cracks … while you were sleeping.

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They 'll also receive notifications when they 're near or have reached the data , call and text limits set by the Your child will see a page with the Verizon Smart Family Companion app's pairing status. You can block data from third-party apps through Verizon Smart Family, so your child doesn't use it to talk

But now Samsung TV owners — and smart TV owners in general — are stuck with the thought that maybe they need anti-virus software for their TV the Additionally, smart TVs that are linked to other internet-connected devices could expose more data about you and your home as they trade data

To terminate this data collection, open the Settings app, then select General, and then Background App Refresh. Here, you'll be able to turn the feature off for specific apps  – or for the whole phone altogether.

So, what do they do with the data?

To get back to what started this column, the question is, what do companies like Google, Amazon and Apple do with your data? Well, we hope they do what they say they do, which is use it to improve technology and make our lives easier and more enjoyable.

I've been doing this too long to believe that it's all about our benefit. This data can be used to target you with advertisements, as well as to determine things like how much you pay for insurance, whether you are potentially a good employee and other things you never intended your data to be used for.

What do you think? Are your smart speaker lover or hater? Drop me a line at

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: When smart devices watch you, what do they do with the data?

Google investigating leak of smart speaker recordings on one of its devices.
Don’t be so sure your Google Home is an just idle smart speaker device, because apparently it can systematically eavesdrop on your conversations. The company is investigating how more than 1,000 conversations recorded by one of its smart speakers were leaked. The first to expose the recordings by Google Home devices in Belgium and the Netherlands was Belgian broadcaster VRT, who broke down its findings. VRT said the recordings came to light by one of the human reviewers who help fine-tune the Home’s linguistic capabilities and ensured it took the necessary steps to protect the privacy of the people whose recordings it examined.

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