Household intelligent personal assistants in the Netherlands: Exploring privacy concerns around surveillance, security, and platforms

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Abstract

Intelligent personal assistants (IPAs), also known as smart speakers, are becoming part of everyday life in more and more households around the world. Phone and household IPAs are integrated in intimate home contexts and require connections to (social) media profiles, user accounts, and domestic appliances. Users can control their household with voice-activated commands in order to make life more convenient and efficient. Yet, IPAs also bring privacy and surveillance concerns about devices “listening in,” the “platformization” of home life, and data security. Our exploratory mixed-methods study provides an in-depth and multidimensional account of users' privacy concerns around the emergence of IPAs in Dutch households. We differentiate between surveillance, security, and platform concerns, and our survey results indicate by which factors these are influenced. The focus group analysis highlights the role of conversation, recordability, locatability, control-ability, and assistance affordances. Our findings present a multidimensional and nuanced understanding of privacy concerns around household IPAs. We indicate how smart home technologies raise concerns about privacy, surveillance, device security, everyday behavior, and platform transparency, topics that demand urgent attention before the integration of IPAs will be fully normalized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalConvergence
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2021

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