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Smart Home

CNET Asks: Does it bother you that Alexa's always listening?

Smart speakers have grown in popularity over the past few years. But as cyber security and hacking scandals mount, does it concern you that they can hear everything you're saying?

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Hey Siri, plug your ears while we talk about you.

Smart speakers and voice assistants such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home and soon Apple HomePod are a big hit. More than a whopping 39 million voice assistants have been sold in the US. That breaks down to roughly 29 million Amazon Echo devices and 10 million Google Home units.

Most of you probably know how these devices work: Just holler out a wake command such as "Alexa" or "OK, Google" and you're off. You can give your assistant voice commands or ask it questions. These commands, questions and their respective answers are recorded, so you can easily access all the activity in the app. But these devices are constantly listening for the wake command so technically they're listening in on you at all times. 

Sometimes I'll be talking to my family or friends at home and Alexa will start spouting something off even though I didn't use the wake words for my Echo. It does make me wonder: If Alexa just joined my conversation then what exactly did she hear? Am I being recorded? And can I trust my smart speaker with this information?

These smart assistants are undoubtedly listening to what we are saying. But, what exactly are they doing with the conversations they overhear? As hacking scandals and security threats increase, do you trust that these devices will keep your private information safe and private. Let us know how you feel in the poll below!