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'Hey Siri': Virtual assistants are listening to children and then using the data

By Stephen J. Neville, PhD Student of Communication & Culture, York University, Canada
Natalie Coulter, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, and Director of the Institute for Research on Digital Literacies, York University, Canada
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In many busy households around the world, it’s not uncommon for children to shout out directives to Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. They may make a game out of asking the voice-activated personal assistant (VAPA) what time it is, or requesting a popular song. While this may seem like a mundane part of domestic life, there is much more going on.

The VAPAs are continuously listening, recording and processing acoustic happenings in a process that has been dubbed “eavesmining,” a portmanteau of eavesdropping and datamining.…The Conversation


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