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Assemblyman’s anti-eavesdropping act passes Senate judiciary committee 

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Bill, if made law, would prohibit smart speaker manufacturers from retaining, distributing, or selling voice recordings without user’s consent

– Today, Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) announced that the Anti-Eavesdropping Act (AB 1262) passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support.

The bill, if signed into law, would prohibit smart speaker manufacturers from retaining, distributing, or selling identifiable voice recordings or transcriptions without first obtaining the user’s consent.

“The Anti-Eavesdropping Act will allow conversations in the home to remain private, while also giving smart speaker users the ability to live in a modern, interconnected home,” said Cunningham. “I am thankful for my colleagues support in Senate Judiciary Committee today, and look forward to continuing to work with Members and stakeholders on this important issue.”

Smart speakers eavesdropping, recording, and retaining information collected in the home has been a documented issue for a number of years. In 2018, one Portland, Oregon, family was shocked when a smart speaker device recorded parts of a private conversation and sent audio recordings to a work colleague. In 2019, a Washington Post tech columnist said that the amount of data collected in the home by smart speakers and other smart home devices would “make the East German secret police blush.” A 2019 report by Bloomberg found that Amazon had a team of thousands of employees around the world listening, transcribing, and annotating audio recordings made via the Amazon Echo device.

AB 1262, coauthored by Asm. Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee later this summer.

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