Ethical question: should you disclose smart speakers like HomePod to guests?

Change what HomePod listens to you

If you own a smart speaker like HomePod or a similar device that comes with an always-on assistant, should you make visitors aware they might be recorded at all times?

As noted by The Loop, BBC News challenged Rick OSterloh, Google’s Senior Vice President of Devices & Services, as to whether homeowners should tell guests smart devices like Google Nest, Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod are in use before they enter the building.

What came out of his mouth isn’t exactly a sort of response you’d expect from a Google executive when asked such a tricky question, here’s what he said:

Gosh, I haven’t thought about this before in quite this way. It’s quite important for all these technologies to think about all users… we have to consider all stakeholders that might be in proximity. Does the owner of a home need to disclose to a guest? I would and do when someone enters into my home, and it’s probably something that the products themselves should try to indicate.

Which brings us to, well, you.

Where do you stand on this controversial topic? With major technology companies recording our conversations via smart devices pretty much all the time, is disclosing the fact to your visitors something we should all be doing in order to protect their privacy.

Sound off in the comments below!