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Working from Home During the Pandemic? Turn Alexa and Siri Off!

The transition from work-from-the-office to work-from-home has been rapid during the pandemic. All of a sudden, millions of workers are working from home, while data security personnel were not able to plan and operationalize the transition in an optimal way. Many security measures are being put in place now as everyone settles into the new norm.

One of the things that may be considered by companies is the fact that many employees have personal digital assistants (like Alexa and Siri) in their homes, devices that are on at all times, and are listening and recording all conversations. This means that work conversations, including confidential company information, is available for such devices to access, record, analyze and data mine. Utilizing information that is accessible to the listening devices, including work devices, is legal as the user authorized such activity when activated the digital personal device was activated in their home. However, companies did not authorize the access, recording, analyzing and mining of company data by its employees when they are working from home.

Many companies have internal guidelines that prohibit employees from using digital personal assistants in the office, in order to protect the confidentiality of company information. However, now that many employees are working from home, it is difficult for businesses to monitor and enforce those internal guidelines and policies.

If your company prohibits the use of digital personal assistants in the office, you may wish to consider reminding your employees that the same prohibition applies when they work from home.

Copyright © 2020 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.


About this Author

Linn F. Freedman, Robinson Cole Law Firm, Cybersecurity and Litigation Law Attorney, Providence

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She provides guidance on data privacy and cybersecurity compliance to a full range of public and private clients across all industries, such as construction, education, health care, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and critical infrastructure, marine, and charitable organizations. Linn is a member of the firm's Business Litigation Group and chairs its Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team. She is also a member of the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team (CyFi ...