Intelligent personal assistants and the intercultural negotiations of dataveillance in platformed households

Jason Pridmore, Jessica Vitak, Daniel Trottier, Yuting Liao, Michael Zimmer, Anouk Mols, Priya C. Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The platformization of households is increasingly possible with the introduction of “intelligent personal assistants” (IPAs) embedded in smart, always-listening speakers and screens, such as Google Home and the Amazon Echo. These devices exemplify Zuboff’s “surveillance capitalism” by commodifying familial and social spaces and funneling data into corporate networks. However, the motivations driving the development of these platforms—and the dataveillance they afford—vary: Amazon appears focused on collecting user data to drive personalized sales across its shopping platform, while Google relies on its vast dataveillance infrastructure to build its AI-driven targeted advertising platform. This paper draws on cross-cultural focus groups regarding IPAs in the Netherlands and the United States. It reveals how respondents in these two countries articulate divergent ways of negotiating the dataveillance affordances and privacy concerns of these IPA platforms. These findings suggest the need for a nuanced approach to combating and limiting the potential harms of these home devices, which may otherwise be seen as equivalents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-131
Number of pages7
JournalSurveillance & Society
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 31 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety Research
  • Urban Studies


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