Reviews.org magazine has examined various voice assistance systems from major manufacturers. The goal, to find out what data the devices collect from their human users. These can then be used by the respective companies more or less for their own purposes.
The result — the five opponents, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri, Samsung Bixby and Microsoft Cortana all collect a lot of partly personal data from users — including their names, time zones, phone numbers, device locations, IP addresses and also the phone numbers and names in the address books of the users.
Alexa and Bixby go even further — both have access to the pictures and videos that are stored in the respective account. The same goes for browsing history, which is recorded and collected by Alexa, Siri, and Cortana. Google Assistant, Bixby and Cortana meanwhile save the search queries that are made online.
All systems collect data via their own device and network in which the device is located. This includes the device specifications, configurations, performance values of the hardware and connection data of the network. All manufacturers also know in which WLAN, including name and dial-in time, users are. Only Alexa collects information about the customer’s internet service provider.
All smart assistants except Samsung Bixby also create an acoustic model of their own voice. This can be used to identify several people in the same household and to assign data. In addition, language assistants always learn from the language data of the user and recognize different accents, and improve languages better over time.