September 18, 2020

Research Article: “Alexa, Are You Listening?: Privacy Perceptions, Concerns and Privacy-seeking Behaviors with Smart Speakers”

The following article appears in Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction (Volume 2 Issue CSCW, November 2018).

Title

Alexa, Are You Listening?: Privacy Perceptions, Concerns and Privacy-seeking Behaviors with Smart Speakers

Authors

Josephine Lau
University Of Michigan

Benjamin Zimmerman
University Of Michigan

Florian Schaub
University Of Michigan

Source

Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Volume 2 Issue CSCW, November 2018

Abstract

Smart speakers with voice assistants, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, provide benefits and convenience but also raise privacy concerns due to their continuously listening microphones. We studied people’s reasons for and against adopting smart speakers, their privacy perceptions and concerns, and their privacy-seeking behaviors around smart speakers. We conducted a diary study and interviews with seventeen smart speaker users and interviews with seventeen non-users. We found that many non-users did not see the utility of smart speakers or did not trust speaker companies. In contrast, users express few privacy concerns, but their rationalizations indicate an incomplete understanding of privacy risks, a complicated trust relationship with speaker companies, and a reliance on the socio-technical context in which smart speakers reside. Users trade privacy for convenience with different levels of deliberation and privacy resignation. Privacy tensions arise between primary, secondary, and incidental users of smart speakers. Finally, current smart speaker privacy controls are rarely used, as they are not well-aligned with users’ needs. Our findings can inform future smart speaker designs; in particular we recommend better integrating privacy controls into smart speaker interaction.

Direct to Full Text Article

See Also:  Hey, Alexa, Stop Listening to Everything I Say (via University of Michigan)
Comments from co-author. Includes video.

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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