Data Collection and Transparency in Voice Tech

Further exploring this week’s theme of online privacy, today we investigate the trade-off between embracing new and convenient technologies, and mitigating against new forms of commercial data collection.

As yesterday’s chart showed, digital consumers are increasingly conscious of their digital footprints and data privacy. They may not, however, be as conscious of how their data is being collected or used by companies when new and unfamiliar technologies are the case.

Mobile Voice Users are already taking action online to control the data they share with companies – 2 in 3 are either using ‘private browsing’ functionality or deleting cookies; and over 6 in 10 are ad-blocking each month. It’s almost half deploying Virtual Private Networks (VPN) each month while browsing online, also.

While these measures give privacy conscious individuals the chance to have more control of their online footprints, voice search is a fundamentally different way of online engagement that consumers may not yet know how to keep ‘private’. Voice tech does not yet have the same level of familiarity, or the same availability of consumer privacy tools to allow people to be as selective about their data sharing.

Consumers do have the option to opt out of data sharing agreements, and also to look back at their previous voice searches and listen to them again or delete them. But much of the noise concerning how this data is collected and used has drawn attention from the media as an unknown territory.

The balance between convenience, privacy and security for new technologies like voice search often rests upon brands being transparent with their customers. Educating them about the value exchange between data collection and better product interactions will be especially important as voice expands its presence throughout the home.

*Mobile Voice Users are defined as internet users aged 16-64 who have used voice search or voice command tools on their mobile in the past month