Privacy problems are widespread for Alexa and Google Assistant voice apps, according to researchers

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Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice app privacy policies are often “problematic” and violate baseline requirements, according to a study coauthored by Clemson University School of Computing researchers. The work, which hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed, analyzed tens of thousands of Alexa skills and Google Assistant actions to measure the effectiveness of their data practice disclosures. The researchers characterize the current state of affairs as “worrisome” and claim that Google and Amazon run afoul of their own developer rules.

Hundreds of millions of people around the world use Google Assistant and Alexa to order products, manage bank accounts, catch up on news, and control smart home devices. Voice apps (referred to as “skills” by Amazon and “actions” by Google) extend the platforms’ capabilities, in some cases by tapping into third-party tools. But in spite of app store regulations and legislation mandating data transparency, developers are inconsistent when it comes to disclosure,


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