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This Home Voice Assistant Will Not Sell Your Data

This Home Voice Assistant Will Not Sell Your Data
Delivery & Logistics

A competitor for Amazon Alexa and Google Home, Mycroft's new voice-enabled device is open source and does not collect data without permission

Catherine Ollinger
  • 15 february 2018

Voice-enabled AI assistants are gaining in popularity. However, one big concern remains among consumers: privacy. Amazon Echo and Google Home quietly collect data on their users’ habits, storing the information for potential monetization without letting users opt out. Mycroft is setting itself apart with the Mark II, which allows users to choose to turn off data sharing.

Marketed as having consumers’ best interests in mind, Mycroft’s new device has a screen but comes in a rounded shape for a softer look than Amazon’s Echo Show. The major distinction from its competitors, though, is that while it does respond to your questions and remember your answers, it will not share any of that data or sell it to advertisers—meaning you won’t hear ads reflecting your preferences on your device if you so choose. In fact, the Mark II won’t even store your data on Mycroft’s sever unless you explicitly give it permission to do so. And if you want to allow data collection at certain times but not at others, you can switch back and forth as much as you like.

The main idea behind Mycroft’s new AI assistant is that it truly serves you, the consumer, and not its own interests. In this vein, Mark II is also open-source (a decentralized software model encouraging open collaboration), meaning that it is not restricted to particular types of email or subscription services but is compatible with whatever you choose to use, allowing users ultimate flexibility. This freedom is particularly interesting for those who use a motley crew of devices and services not all from the same brand or company.

Ultimately, staying afloat in a market dominated by giants like Apple and Google isn’t easy. However, Mycroft believes that its commitment to community development, protection of users’ privacy, transparency of data collection and customization potential are all powerful advantages that will allow it not only to survive among stiff competition but also to revolutionize AI-assistance technology. The company is currently raising funds for Mark II on Kickstarter.

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