Top tech investor: Smart speakers being used for surveillance

Top tech investor: Smart speakers being used for surveillance
© Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Tech investor John Borthwick said smart speakers have multiple "problematic" layers and claims the devices are being used for surveillance. 

"I would say that there's two or three layers sort of problematic layers with these new smart speakers, smart earphones that are in market now," Borthwick told Yahoo Finance in an interview published Sunday. 

“And so the first is, from a consumer standpoint, user standpoint, is that these, these devices are being used for what's — it's hard to call it anything but surveillance," he added.

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Borthwick told Yahoo there needs to be more levels of regulation that give control over data back to consumers. 

“I personally believe that you, as a user and as somebody who likes technology, who wants to use technology, that you should have far more rights about your data usage than we have today,” he said. 

Bloomberg reported in April that Amazon workers listen to what consumers command their Alexa devices to do. 

Similar products are offered by Google and Apple — and reports followed Bloomberg's that the companies also are listening to users' voice commands. 

Bloomberg issued another report that Facebook was listening to user's voice commands made through the Messenger app. 

Companies said they use the information to improve products.

Google has stopped the process and Apple has said it will automatically opt users out of having their voice samples collected according to Yahoo. 

Amazon has since allowed users to opt out of having their voice commands shared with employees, according to Yahoo.