Tag Archive alexa

ByJayanthi

Is “Privacy” a myth?

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“Privacy”, what? might be a common reaction for some of us. For me, of late, I have been getting more and more passionate about privacy issues. What is “privacy” anyways? Is it a total myth in this digital age? Most of my digital life is spent in wondering who has stolen my private information, or who “else” has seen my online pictures and who “else” is listening to me…if you are like me – you are a true “privacy” warrior like me! ๐Ÿ™‚

Almost all of our information is stored online in some server in a strange country(or in your very own background!! :)) Safeguarding this personal information and ensuring that this information is not “sold” to other third parties is one way of ensuring “privacy”. Anything that is yours and yours alone and which is spied upon or stolen cunningly is loss of privacy. 

The places you visited, your birthdays, the pictures you take, the milestones achieved(and shared), the places that you have been to, the credit card numbers that are stored for ease of transactions –  we give all this information voluntarily and unknowingly to some online giant. This information – if it stays with the same organization – it is “private”. But more often than not, “your” information gets sold and you have no clue about it.

The EU GDPR(General Data Protection Regulation) that came into effect last year was the strongest data privacy regulation in 20 years. It broadly seeks to protect user data and make all organizations create transparent data policies. Selling user data is not the only invasion of privacy – there are other ways that privacy of users can be lost too.

Alexa:

Digital assistants or personal assistants(like Siri, Cortana, Amazon Echo) may be more ubiquitous in the West than in India. Personal assistants are supposed to make our life simpler – they can call anybody, order pizza, turn on the lights and more. But according to a report published a week back, did you know that “Alexa” was listening to your conversations all along? If you forgot to “turn off” your Alexa, it could eavesdrop on all your personal conversations. According to this report, voice snippets are  analyzed by Amazon employees for better customer experience.  

So, if you feel your privacy has been lost with the Amazon Echo devices, it would be good to go to ‘Settings’ in the ‘Alexa’ app – and disable “the use of voice recordings for the development of new features’. Similarly, it would be good to review all ‘privacy” features in all digital devices and set it to stringent levels. 

With all the privacy hacks on various digital platforms – I hardly feel like sharing anything online except for meeting everybody in person! ๐Ÿ™‚

This post is for alphabet ‘P’ of the #Blogchatter challenge. The previous post can be found here.