Amazon, Google, Apple : connected speakers, a danger comparable to the "cigarette"?

by Kelvin
Phonandroid : actu Android et High-tech

Amazon, Google and Apple use their wizard and speakers for "surveillance" purposes, according to Betaworks investor and founder John Borthwick. This last warning about the few rights enjoyed by users when it comes to this collection – in reference to recent scandals raised by listening to private conversations by employees of these firms. And puts them for now rather in the box of "bad technologies "that he compares to" cigarettes ".


Connected speakers users Amazon Echo, Google Home or the Siri wizard on the iPhone are "surveillance", according to the American investor John Borthwick – who has contributed to the launch of companies like Twitter and AirBnB was at the heart of a video published by Yahoo Finance. He was invited to express himself on the Internet – and to say how he thinks start-ups could improve the situation. John Borthwick has often been critical of the action of internet giants. At the turn of the interview of thirty minutes, he returns to the charge on the issue of connected speakers.

Amazon, Google, Apple : Voice assistant users do not have enough rights according to John Borthwick

"I think that in 2019 (…) technology is a solution to some problems, but is also a source of some problems in our society," begins John Borthwick. And to add that what he calls bad technology "looks like a pollutant, it's toxic, like the cigarette". And as an example, the interview quickly goes to the question of connected speakers and smart headphones. Man concedes the revolution they represent: "we consider it to be a new category of interface". But nuance immediately by highlighting the reality of what these new devices and services represent, as designed by the GAFA:

"I would say that these new speakers and headphones are problematic at two or three levels. And the first is that from the point of view of the consumer, the user, is that these devices are used for what is nothing else – it's hard to call it otherwise – than the surveillance. " John Borthwick refers to scandals that have recently emerged from listening to private conversations by employees Amazon, Google but also Apple. In all three cases, the firms claimed to have used these practices to improve speech recognition of their speakers.

But it was learned that these employees, and sometimes subcontractors, were able to access very private conversations, often sensitive, with in some cases information to identify the address and / or the person who owns it. pregnant. Since, some like Apple and Google have decided to end their listening program. But this is not yet the case Amazon. The problem is not, according to John Borthwick, as long as this listening takes place – that the fact that users have not been well informed in advance and that personal data are thus passed on to third parties without their consent.

Read also: Connected speakers – Google Assistant, Alexa and Siri understand men better than women

"I personally think that you, as a user and as a person who loves technology, should have a lot more rights around using your data than you have today," he says. . Do you think like John Borthwick that current assistants are "a toxic pollutant like cigarette"? Share your opinion in the comments. The entire interview is also available in the video we picked up at the end of the article.