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Are Smart Speakers Stealing Your Data?

In the age of hacks and data leaks like Cambridge Analytica, it is not surprising that people are concerned about the amount of data they are sharing online. As our lives get more and more connected to the internet and our homes get smarter, the question, how much are we giving away just for a few conveniences, comes forward. After all, nothing is free on the internet. Even seemingly free services like social media and email come at the cost of targeted ads and data. Who hasn’t been bombarded with targeted ads after a single 5-minute visit to an online shopping website?

With smart devices, however, even paying is not making it entirely free from data mining. Companies constantly monitor the data that these devices send out from our homes to create even more targeted ads and products aimed at us. This is concerning on many levels, a primary one being that these companies do not tell us which data they are taking from us and why. Also, many people may not want to have their private data shared with strangers on the internet. Luckily, there are some things you can do to minimise the data loss and spying.

Switch off the Wi-fi: Most of us keep the wi-fi on 24/7. Switching off the wi-fi stops the devices from communicating with the manufacturer and thus keeps your data safe for a set duration.
Erase data: Mute your smart speakers when you don’t require them and remember to erase all your application data regularly.
Update: Look, no one likes a software update, but they are a necessary evil as they often contain security patches to prevent hackers and cybercriminals from accessing your data.

Understanding the risks of what we are giving away in return for convenience and comfort is a good place to start with regard to data security. While your data will not be as protected as it would be in the case you never automated your home, the benefits in some cases do outweigh the risks. It is up to you meas

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