People believe smart speakers are smart eavesdroppers

Unisys releases results of annual security concerns survey

Forty percent of New Zealanders surveyed by Unisys as part of its annual global survey of consumers about their security concerns said they had received social media posts and ads about a topic they talked about aloud when their smart listening device was turned on.

Perhaps surprisingly only half of these were concerned, and 25 percent of those surveyed said the virtual assistant in their smartphone or smart watch had asked them for more information or to repeat themselves – even though they had not turned it on.

Unisys surveyed 1000 New Zealanders in February but reran the survey in March to discover the impact of the Christchurch massacre on citizens’ security concerns. It found the overall impact quite small, ranking it the overall measure of security concerns at 139 out of 300 – almost unchanged from 138 in 2018 — and 143 after Christchurch.

Despite this increase, New Zealand still had the third lowest level of concern of the 13 countries included in the survey, higher only than Germany and the Netherlands.

After the attacks Unisys found clear public expectation that social media website operators would do more to identify and prevent malicious activity.

“The vast majority, 80 percent of New Zealanders, believe social media companies are responsible for monitoring and removing inflammatory content, such as hate speech and racist memesm,” it said. “And… 56 percent … agree that police, law enforcement and other government agencies should be able to access and monitor all social media channels to look for disturbing content and malicious activities.’

Twenty eight percent of respondents said they had experienced a data breach in the last year. 

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