IRL - Smart speakers at home: utility, capability and privacy

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Smart speakers at home: utility, capability and privacy

Labo LIG


With the emergence of IoT, a large number of devices are now part of our daily life whether to support us at work, facilitate travel or communicate with others. If smart phone is the best example of such device, they have been recently a growing number of smart speakers that have been bought to provide many services to increase comfort in our intimate places. Such kind of IoT is expected to increase in the near future, however, as for the smart phone when it appeared, it is still difficult to predict to which extend this technology will be useful and will respect our privacy. It is now well know that smartphone are very useful but are also the mean by which private information is captured without the user be fully aware of it. Recent news reported the same kind of breach for privacy with smart speakers. In this internship, the aim is to get an overview of the reported user studies including smart speakers and to study to which extend private information get out of the smart speakers. The student will have access to devices (including a smart speaker) to perform this study.


During the internship, the study will include:

1. a review of current studies on smart user usefulness and privacy breach

2. experiments to assess the practical limits of smart speakers

3. packet sniffing to assess which kinds of information get out of the home

4. If adequate, write research paper


Candidate : student pursuing a master in computing science. Knowledge and practice of network analysis would be an advantage.


[] Google falls to third place in worldwide smart speaker market

[The New York Times] Spy Agencies Tap Data Streaming From Phone Apps

[The Independent] Amazon admits employees listen to Alexa conversations

LAU, Josephine, ZIMMERMAN, Benjamin, et SCHAUB, Florian. Alexa, are you listening?: Privacy perceptions, concerns and privacy-seeking behaviors with smart speakers. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 2018, vol. 2, no CSCW, p. 102.

Malkin, N., Deatrick, J., Tong, A., Wijesekera, P., Egelman, S., & Wagner, D. (2019). Privacy Attitudes of Smart Speaker Users. Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, 2019(4), 250-271.