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Google Assistant
Google Assistant
SHUTTERSTOCK

Calling out constantly for Alexa, Google and Siri may make it seem like you added three extra kids to your household. But how safe is this ‘virtual helper’ technology anyway? While all of these apps pose security risks due to their constant listening tools, Google Assistant is the diciest.

A quick rundown: the ‘Google Assistant’ feature can be enabled through the Google app on any smartphone or tablet that runs on at least Android 5.0. The problem? “This is one of the most pervasive applications in existence. It collects not only behavioural data, but voice searches, and it can record them at any point in time, meaning any time you talk about something, these voice recordings can be tied directly to advertising on Google,” explains Dr Leif-Nissen Lundbæk, co-founder and CEO of XAIN.

The solution? Skip over enabling this virtual helper (or disable it if you currently have it on) and play that video of cute puppies (or whatever else you may be searching) on your own.

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