Many consumers love the hands-free convenience of smart speakers in their homes. The appeal includes several applications: stream music, plan travel, manage your grocery list, get briefed on news headlines, buy movie tickets, hear jokes, get sports scores, and more. Like any other internet-connected device, it's wise to know and use the device's security settings if you value your, your children's, and your guests' privacy.
In the August issue of its print magazine, Consumer Reports (CR) advises the following settings for your smart speakers:
"Protect Your Privacy
If keeping a speaker with a microphone in your home makes you uneasy, you have reason to be. Amazon, Apple, and Google all collect recorded snippets of consumers' commands to improve their voice-computing technology. But they also offer ways to mute the mic when it's not in use. The Amazon Echo has an On/Off button on top of the device. The Google Home's mute button is on the back. And Apple's HomePod requires a voice command: "Hey, Siri, stop listening." (You then use a button to turn the device back on.) For a third-party speaker, consult the owner's manual for instructions."
To learn more, the CR site offers several resources: