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British Civil Servants Banned From Using Smart Speakers

British Civil Servants Banned From Using Smart Speakers

The UK authorities have banned civil servants from holding meetings in rooms where there are working "smart" speakers.

Anonymous interlocutors of the publication stressed that such a requirement was introduced a long time ago. If there is a smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Nest in the room where a work meeting is scheduled, you need to turn it off or move it outside the room.

In the context of the pandemic, many have switched to remote work. Since work issues are constantly discussed via videoconferencing, the requirement has also been extended to employees ' home devices. "I was actually told to send my [smart column] to the trash," one anonymous source told the newspaper. "General instruction is to disable Alexa or Siri. I don't remember if this requirement is mandatory, but it has been in place for a long time," another source explained.

To be able to respond to a voice command at any time, smart speakers are in "passive listening" mode by default-after recognizing an activation phrase ("hi, Siri," "OK Google," etc.), they start listening "actively," switching to the recognition mode for various commands.

At the same time, sometimes devices make mistakes, as a result of which employees of IT companies working on improving voice often hear conversations that are not intended for outsiders. Google last year acknowledged the unintentional wiretapping of users. Voice assistants built into smartphones also work in the same way, so it would be logical to deactivate this function on mobile devices as well.

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