Smart Speakers Remain Popular For Holiday Gifts Despite Privacy Concerns

A selection of smart speakers and other devices.
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Do you have a smart speaker at home? The devices from Amazon, Google and others are expected to be hot holiday stocking stuffers this season, despite growing safety concerns.

From playing music to controlling illumination, these voice-enabled gadgets can perform a growing number of tasks around the home, just by hearing a command.  As their popularity grows, so have concerns about whether the devices are listening to and recording our private conversations.

But Amazon spokesperson Molly Wade wanted to reassure that the company’s smart devices are not eavesdropping.

“Our Echo devices are specifically designed, from the hardware to the software, to only listen to your chosen ‘wake’ word, which in most cases is ‘Alexa,’” Wade said. “Otherwise, it’s not listening for anything.”

According to Bloomberg, a recent survey found almost half of respondents in the U.S. and Europe had a voice activated device, up from 25% in 2017.