Legal Obligation and Ethical Best Practice: Towards Meaningful Verbal Consent for Voice Assistants

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To improve user experience, Alexa now allows users to consent to data sharing via voice rather than directing them to the companion smartphone app. While verbal consent mechanisms for voice assistants (VAs) can increase usability, they can also undermine principles core to informed consent. We conducted a Delphi study with experts from academia, industry, and the public sector on requirements for verbal consent in VAs. Candidate requirements were drawn from the literature, regulations, and research ethics guidelines that participants rated based on their relevance to the consent process, actionability by platforms, and usability by end-users, discussing their reasoning as the study progressed. We highlight key areas of (dis)agreement between experts, deriving recommendations for regulators, skill developers, and VA platforms towards crafting meaningful verbal consent mechanisms. Key themes include approaching permissions according to the user's ability to opt-out, minimising consent decisions, and ensuring platforms follow established consent principles.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781450394215
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2023

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


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