California Bill Aims to Regulate Smart Speakers

In California, smart home speakers might become legally blocked from saving voice recordings.

A bill making its way through the state legislature would require smart speaker manufacturers to get user permission in writing before they can store a recorded voice. The bill would also ban smart speaker makers from sharing recordings with third parties.

Called “The Anti-Eavesdropping Act,” the bill passed the California State Assembly on Wednesday. 

“Today, the State Assembly sent a strong message to the tech giants who have spent years recording and retaining private conversations in the home via smart devices,” said Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, who authored the bill, in a statement.

If the bill passes, it could present a hindrance to Google, Amazon and Apple, which rely heavily on data and conversations collected from voice assistants to improve their line of smart products.

“Tech giants have provided consumers with a false choice: live in a smart and interconnected home, or keep your conversations private. We can have both.” Cunningham said. “Private conversations in the home should remain private, and no company should have the ability to record these conversations without consent.”

It is possible to delete recordings from smart home speakers, but those recordings are made by default, at least for now.

Amazon said in a press release on Wednesday that it’s introducing new ways to delete voice recordings on all Alexa-enabled devices soon.

Source: USA Today