Alexa, Google, Siri…and you want privacy?

Recently there’s been a lot of talk in the bookkeeping world about the use of Alexa and the likes. Personally I don’t own any such device but many people do; CPAs, bookkeepers and business owners alike.

Let’s not be naive and think these devices are not always listening to us, if they weren’t they wouldn’t know when to answer us. But it also begs the question, what about our phones and other devices?

I have an iPhone and an iPad so Siri is available to me. I have not activated the “voice activation” on either device but does that really mean Siri’s not listening to me? I don’t know!

What about all those people that do have the voice activation working, obviously their phones and other devices are listening. Being a bookkeeper, I discuss the business financials with the business owners and their CPA. As fellow CPB Kellie Parks so eloquently said “We are acct’g professionals, beta testers – the ultimate safe harbours of sensitive information.”. How can we be “safe harbours” if we have all this AI technology listening to our conversations?

We have become so reliant on our devices that we don’t seem to really care who’s listening anymore. Ultimately, if it was that much of a concern we would turn off all our devices when we’re in our workplace or anywhere discussing confidential information. Hardly practical and I don’t know anybody that does this.

Have you ever given any thought to this? It’s certainly worthy of some mulling over and consciously deciding whether or not any of this concerns you, and if so, deciding what steps you are willing to take in an effort to maintain some semblance of privacy.

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