With the country on near-lockdown and companies having employees work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, the problems of surveillance-as-a-feature devices are coming to light. Case in point: Devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo are designed to always be listening. Employers don’t want employees discussing confidential matters in an environment where someone could be listening. The solution: Turn off those devices during work hours if working from home.

In an article published by ZDNet Tuesday under the headline “Working from home? Switch off Amazon’s Alexa (say lawyers),” Chris Matyszczyk wrote:

Some professionals may not be so able to deal with life sans their office perks. Lawyers, for example.

Many are used to sitting in their enclosed chambers, closing their doors and holding vital conversations about lawyerly matters. There, they feel secure.

Working in their homes, they worry who may be spying on them. Alexa, for example, and her band of vastly intelligent speakerpersons.

The report cites a law firm in the UK as telling its employees to mute or even totally disable domestic smart speakers for confidential business calls. That law firm is Mishcon de Reya. And Joe Hancock, the managing partner who heads up cybersecurity for the firm, said, “Perhaps we’re being slightly paranoid, but we need to have a lot of trust in these organizations and these devices. We’d rather not take those risks.”

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