Alexa is Most Trusted Smart Home, Despite Recent News

About two-thirds of people said they were most likely to purchase Amazon Alexa as their smart home platform, according to a recent survey from ExpressVPN. Google was the second pick for smart home products at 55%, while Facebook Portal only received 11% of the votes. The survey, published in December 2018, is particularly relevant since the news that Amazon workers listen to audio clips from Alexa in order to improve her responses.

amazon-alexa
Amazon Alexa

Even though consumers are willing to buy smart home devices, in general, they still reported that they had privacy concerns. 35% of the survey’s respondents said that they would return a device if they learned it was listening to their conversations, and 9% would throw away the device completely. 41% reported that they would disable the device’s microphone, while 17% said they would disconnect it from the Internet. Many consumers were already taking security measures, with a quarter of the respondents making sure their data is encrypted on the devices and 23% unplugging or turning off the devices when they’re not in use. An additional 28% reported that they turn off the microphones when not in use, while 23% covered the cameras while not in use.

This is not the first time Amazon Alexa has been accused of compromising users’ privacy. A study by Checkmarx developed a skill that could have Echo devices secretly record and transcribe audio. Subsequently, Checkmarx told Amazon about the skill so that they could mitigate the risk. Last May, Amazon recorded a user’s private conversation and sent it to one of her contacts, according to a report from KIRO 7 News in Seattle. Amazon claimed that this was an “extremely rare occurrence” that they were working to prevent from happening again. As the majority of consumers surveyed said that they still planned to buy a smart home device as of December, it remains to be seen how this news will affect their buying decisions.

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza Vigderman

Aliza is a journalist living in Brooklyn, New York. Throughout her career, her work has spanned many intersections within the tech industry. At SquareFoot, a New York-based real estate technology company, she wrote about the ways in which technology has changed the real estate industry, as well as the challenges that business owners face when they want to invest in property. At Degreed.com, an education technology website, Aliza created digital content for lifelong learners, exploring the ways in which technology has democratized education. Additionally, she has written articles for The Huffington Post as well as her own content on Medium, the online publishing platform. Aliza’s love of journalism and research stems from the excellent Journalism program at Brandeis University. At Brandeis, Aliza interned as a research assistant at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit “news room without walls”. There, Aliza was paired with an investigative journalist and used academic databases to obtain data on everything from the suicide rates in Bhutan to local Boston court cases. Her last position was as an account executive at Yelp, educating business owners on the power of technology to increase revenue. Throughout, however, her heart remained with tech journalism, and she’s thrilled to be writing for Security Baron. When she’s not keeping afloat of the latest tech trends, Aliza likes to cook, read, and write. A former high school “Class Clown,” Aliza has completed two feature-length screenplays, a pilot, and countless comedic sketches. On her days off you can find her relaxing in Prospect Park, trying the latest flavors at Ample Hills Ice Cream, and spending time with friends and family.

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