The use of chatbots and voice activated apps (such as Siri or Google Now, smart TVs and other household items and even toys like Hello Barbie) is increasing.  These apps rely on recording and storing audio collected by the device on an on-going basis.  These recordings will inevitably include the accidental and un-notified recording of private conversations and the voices of third parties.  But what ethical, privacy and legal issues are raised by these new technologies?  And what are we doing about them.

Not surprisingly, the issues raised are complex, bringing new uses and new concepts such as device-mediated recording of conversations (i.e. recording without any personal intervention), in circumstances where those recordings may never be heard by a third person or listened to (e.g. they are used by speech recognition technology only). And the law is struggling to keep up with these new paradigms.

Some of the ethical, privacy and legal issues were raised by this article in The Conversation.
Some of Australia’s complex web of surveillance laws are listed here.
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has produced a better practice guideline for app developers.

Contact us if you’re interested in further advice around privacy and legal issues raised in this article.

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