I continue to be quite surprised at the lack of understanding that people have about personal assistants such as Alexa and Echo. It seems logical to me that when you yell out “Alexa, turn on the lights!” Alexa is using voice recognition technology to recognize your voice for the command and is processing that command not through the use of magic.

People still don’t understand that when you buy a personal assistant and set it up, that you are agreeing to the terms of use of the product, which includes the collection, disclosure, use and mining of all of the data/commands/things you say while it is on and that it is listening and recording everything that you or anyone else in your house is saying. How else could it work and why don’t people get that?

I have reminded several business folks this week to look at their working environment at home, determine if they have a personal assistant or other IoT device anywhere in the working environment, and to turn it off while working. Otherwise, everything said during the work day is being collected, recorded, transmitted and used, and chances are that your employer is not o.k. with that disclosure.

There are reasons we don’t have recording devices in our offices or at our workplace. Those reasons are no different for home offices. Respect for the confidentiality and privacy of company business and your own personal information should be no different at home than it is in the office.

Be aware of the IoT devices in your home with a microphone, including personal assistants, be aware of the mobile apps that you download that include access to your microphone and check the settings on each frequently as you discuss confidential business or personal information from your new norm of working from home.