Keywords:  IoT, Privacy,


Privacy Controls for Always-Listening Devices

Nathan Malkin, PhD Student, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Berkeley

Intelligent voice assistants and other microphone-equipped Internet of Things devices offer great convenience at the cost of very high privacy risks. The goal of our research is to develop privacy controls for devices that listen all the time — beyond a few specific keywords. More specifically, our goal is for users to be able to specify restrictions on these devices — what the devices can hear and what is off limits — and for our system to be able to enforce their preferences. During the first phase of our research, we investigated people's expectations for these devices and how they varied across different individuals and situations. We also developed potential privacy-preserving approaches. For the next phase, we propose implementing these techniques for enforcing user preferences and evaluating their effectiveness and usability across several different dimensions and criteria.