Consumer Alert: Are smart home devices invading your privacy?

Posted: Updated:

Could smart home devices be invading your privacy?

There's no question that smart devices are convenient, but how much do you want their manufacturers to know about you? Both Amazon Echo and Apple Homepad keep records of every request. Amazon's records were even subpoenaed in a murder trial last year.

And earlier this year, reports emerged that Apple, Amazon and Google were letting workers review customer conversations without their knowledge. In the wake of those reports, all three companies are giving customers a little more control.

So how do you prevent accidental eavesdropping? The easiest thing to do is just mute the speaker. On an Amazon device, there’s a button right on the top -- press it and Alexa stops listening. To re-enable the speaker, press it again.

For Apple devices, there is no mute switch, but you can tell the speaker, “Hey Siri, stop listening.” That won’t work for an iPhone -- for that, you have to go into your settings.

You can delete existing recordings by going into the Alexa app, or on Apple devices by disabling and re-enabling Siri.

Google has taken the lead on privacy issues. Its assistant no longer records users by default. But if you've had your device set up for a while, you might want to check your settings.

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