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Privacy Awareness Week (Personal Data): Technology Suspicion - Consumer Concerns Surrounding Voice and Digital Assistants

Protecting personal data is a fundamental aspect of any privacy regime. As we become more technological advanced, organisations are finding innovative ways to interact with consumers through more intuitive communication channels, such as voice recognition via digital assistants. But not everyone trusts such technology, as Microsoft’s April 2019 report on voice assistants and conversational artificial intelligence has found.

The report found that 41% of voice assistant users were concerned about trust, privacy and passive listening. Other interesting findings of the report include:

  • A majority of users (52%) had concerns surrounding security for personal information, and around a quarter of the users (24%) had suspicions surrounding the ways in which companies might use the information.
  • Almost half the users (41%) were concerned with their devices actively listening or recording conversations when idle.
  • Around a quarter of the users (14%) did not trust the companies behind the voice assistant, and 36% of users did not want their personal information or data being used.

According to the report, headlines surrounding topics such as misunderstood commands and unrequested purchases have greatly influenced consumer attitudes towards these forms of technology. Clearly users are struggling to reconcile the competing interests. The technology understands you better the more information it collects from you. Where will you draw the line between these interests?

Max Evans and Rebecca Gill contributed to this piece.

Copyright 2019 K & L Gates


About this Author

Cameron Abbott, Technology, Attorney, Australia, corporate, KL Gates Law Firm

Mr. Abbott is a corporate lawyer who focuses on technology, telecommunications and broadcasting transactions. He assists corporations and vendors in managing their technology requirements and contracts, particularly large outsourcing and technology procurements issues including licensing terms for SAP and Oracle and major system integration transactions.

Mr. Abbott partners with his clients to ensure market leading solutions are implemented in to their businesses. He concentrates on managing and negotiating complex technology solutions, which...

Rob Pulham, KL Gates, Corporate technology requirements lawyer, contracts drafting attorney
Senior Associate

Mr. Pulham is a corporate and commercial lawyer. His practice includes advising clients in managing their technology requirements and contracts (including drafting, review and negotiation of contracts for the provision of technology products and services), providing advice regarding privacy, data protection and copyright law, marketing and advertising, website content and general commercial intellectual property advice.

Mr. Pulham's experience includes having worked for leading technology suppliers, large Australian financial institutions, and food and beverage manufacturers, as well as Australian and Victorian government agencies.

Senior Attorney

Ms. Aggromito is a senior lawyer in the lawyer in the Melbourne commercial technology and sourcing team focusing on IT, privacy and data protection.