Nowadays, we all use personal assistance, especially with everyone having a smart device. I had left rotator cuff surgery a couple of years ago and could not use my arm for many things. While driving, I use a hands-free of my phone, especially the “Hello Google” feature. Instead of taking my hands off the wheel while going, I could use the feature to send text messages, make phone calls, and play specific songs in my vehicle. Last year I had spinal surgery and could not drive around the house. I used Google nest devices often. They were used for sending reminders, setting alarms, calling people, and turning lights on and off.
As a cybersecurity student, I learn of all the risks of having a personal assistant inside your home. There is a reason why most personal assistants are not HIPPA compliant. Many of them listen to the audio in room 24 x 7 and send it across the Internet to their servers. This data can be intercepted and monitored by individuals other than those intended. An excellent example of something similar was an article released about rumba vacuum cleaners a month ago. Some vacuum cleaners have cameras that take pictures of their surroundings and upload them to developers to help improve their services, such as mapping out houses easier. The problem was that those pictures often included someone using the bathroom or events happening around the house that should have been kept more private. Upon first thought, you would think, what could be so wrong with that, it may be an embarrassing picture, but it is protected under privacy rights and concerns. However, some of their developers took those pictures and posted them on Facebook and other social media platforms to share with the public. Since these incidents went public, the company has stopped allowing individuals to review the images, and those involved have been dealt with. However, this is only the start of privacy breaches. A few months ago, I visited a doctor’s office and had an Amazon echo in the waiting room. While that is a gray area concerning HIPPA privacy, having one in the front administration area or in a patient room where patient privacy and records are discussed frequently is most definitely a HIPPA violation. When I realized that you were listing the VPA’s as Google maps, you didn’t necessarily mean google assistant.
Going back on topic, most of these devices meet my needs. I am not one to need GPS devices when I head into town or go to places. Even though I don’t use Maps too often, I was raised in a time with paper maps. So, in a time when my phone (which never happens) goes dead, I know how to read road signs and street markers to find locations. Many people use google maps. It’s preinstalled on their phones and devices, just the same as some use the equivalent of Google maps on their iPhones because it’s already there. Most assume privacy and security because big names like Apple, Google, and Amazon brand it. When they are, the companies will be more likely to abuse your privacy and try to protect it. The truth behind that statement is that they want to earn your trust to make money off your personal information. However, because they are so large and the number of years they have. When someone has a complaint, you will hear about it faster than complaints from other companies.
My last and final thought on this topic is about Google Maps being listed while Google Maps is an application that people use daily. The focus here should have been. Google Assistant is the true virtual personal assistant included in android, Google maps, and all Google devices. It is also built into the Google nest personal assistant in people’s homes and lives. Even my truck and my car radio are built with Google assistant. Without Google assistant powering the search features, Google maps would not be able to respond.
One of many sources; just google for more: https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/12/19/1065306/roomba-irobot-robot-vacuums-artificial-intelligence-training-data-privacy/