Have you ever wondered if there is anyone else listening to your phone conversations other than the intended recipient? It is a common fear for many, and it turns out there could be. Tech companies such as Google and Apple have both publicly stated that they record user conversations to improve their voice activation software, Google Voice and Siri.
However, they also stress that only a tiny proportion of user conversations are recorded – roughly 0.2% in total. However, why do the conversations need to be recorded? According to companies who engage in this practice, there are perfectly valid reasons. By doing so, their voice activation software can better pick up words and help to reduce the chances of picking up mistaken words when the feature is used. While there are concerns about this practice, the recorded conversations are anonymized to protect users’ privacy.
Another common fear is that companies who record conversations can target advertisements to users. This is not impossible to do, but it has been pointed out that it is rather unnecessary. Other user’s data such as browsing history, location, and spending habit can create a reasonably accurate profile, which is then used to predict the relevant products for users. With the revelation of phones listening to a small proportion of user conversations, the more significant concern is how much data is already user-divulged, potentially without realizing.