Privacy Controls for Always-Listening Devices (NSPW ’19)

Intelligent voice assistants (IVAs) and other voice-enabled devices already form an integral component of the Internet of Things and will continue to grow in popularity. As their capabilities evolve, they will move beyond relying on the wake-words today’s IVAs use, engaging instead in continuous listening. Though potentially useful, the continuous recording and analysis of speech can pose a serious threat to individuals’ privacy. Ideally, users would be able to limit or control the types of information such devices have access to. But existing technical approaches are insufficient for enforcing any such restrictions. To begin formulating a solution, we develop a systematic methodology for studying continuous-listening applications and survey architectural approaches to designing a system that enhances privacy while preserving the benefits of always-listening assistants.

Nathan Malkin, Serge Egelman, and David Wagner. Privacy controls for always-listening devices. In Proceedings of the New Security Paradigms Workshop (NSPW ’19). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 78–91, 2019.

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