(fashion) John Borthwick (above) believes the convenience of today's smart assistants comes at a price far higher than the cost paid for the devices. 'It's hard to call it anything but surveillance,' says the former Time Warner exec
Tech investor John Borthwick believes the convenience of today's smart assistants from Amazon, Google and Apple comes at a price far higher than the cost paid for the devices.
'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,' Borthwick says, warning that government regulation may be the only safeguard to user privacy.
Borthwick, a venture capitalist who started out in the technology industry with a web content studio that was bought by AOL, and who later headed tech strategy for Time Warner, tells Yahoo that he wants federal regulators to hand over more control of privacy to device users.
As it stands now, he warns tech companies that manufacture and sell popular smart speakers, like Amazon's Echo, Google Assistant and Apple's HomePod, are having much more than they're audible responses recorded.
Borthwick warns tech companies that manufacture and sell popular smart speakers, like Amazon's Echo (right), Google Assistant (center) and Apple's HomePod (left), are having much more than they're audible responses recorded
Amazon's Echo will not respond until it hears a user say 'Alexa,' followed by a command. A similar protocol is followed with Google Assistant devices (above), and when an Apple product user requires help from Siri
Borthwick points out how smart speakers are connected with other products, where surveillance is less obvious. Amazon's Echo includes features (above) that allow the device to turn on lights and lock doors, in addition to providing information and entertainment
'They've gone to those devices and they've said, 'Give us data when people passively act upon the