Analysis Shows Amazon’s Alexa Collects More Data Than Any Other Smart Assistant

Analysis Shows Amazon’s Alexa Collects More Data Than Any Other Smart Assistant

Reviews.org compared Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby, and Microsoft’s Cortana on the basis of which types of data each collected from their users. While all five smart assistants collected the user’s name, time zone, phone number, location, and IP address, Alexa was found to gather more user data than the others: the device also takes note of the user’s address, age, voice characteristics, payment information, and personal interests. It gathers the last piece from the user’s profile, along with a “personal description” stored in said profile. And this is only the user’s personal data—other information, like contacts, media, communication records, app use, Wi-Fi network details, and ISP details are also stored by Alexa, but not necessarily by all four other smart assistants.

Analysis Shows Amazon’s Alexa Collects More Data Than Any Other Smart Assistant

By now most of us know that when we purchase a new device, download a new app, or create a new online profile, we’re opening the door to complicated privacy concerns. Many of us have begrudgingly come to a sort of unspoken compromise: limited data collection is something we’re willing to put up with in order to enjoy the internet. But a line has to be drawn somewhere, and while some people may be okay with in-home devices taking careful notes about how their voice sounds and what they’re buying, others aren’t.

A survey conducted in tandem with the analysis by Reviews.org shows that a majority of smart assistant users are concerned about having their data collected or owning a device that’s “always listening” in the background. Though there are (supposedly) ways to turn off the mic on a smart assistant, 38 percent of users reported being unsuccessful in doing so (compared to the 45 percent of users surveyed who tried).

Of course, the easiest way to keep a smart assistant from collecting your data is to avoid buying one in the first place—but if you must, Alexa might not be your best option.

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