November 8, 2020

Curbing speech data overreach

Concerned about how Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant are collecting and using your voice data every time you talk to a smart speaker? Troubled by the potential for speech bots and voice-based information companies to exploit your personal information? Alarmed by the rise of deep fakes and the ease with which bad actors can manipulate audio for nefarious reasons?

You’re not alone. People across the globe are becoming increasingly worried about the extent to which our recorded voices and the words we say are captured, mined for marketing purposes, and vulnerable to hackers and criminals. And it’s a big reason why we’ve seen a stronger push in the last few years for laws and guidelines intended to control these practices and decrease these risks.

But are existing and proposed regulations strong and comprehensive enough to deter unethical methods? Will laws designed to regulate speech data be properly enforced, and will companies in violation be held accountable? Has technology reached a point where it’s nearly impossible to reign it in and safeguard consumers?

I attempt to answer these questions and explore these issues in my latest cover story for Speech Technology magazine, available here.