DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was recently invited for dinner at a friend's home, along with several others. The host has previously mentioned that he has a smart speaker in the dining room of his home.
I understand that a smart speaker, unless disabled, will pick up and record conversations held nearby. I do not want my conversation at dinner to be recorded.
Would it be appropriate for me to tell the friend in advance that I expect him to turn off the speaker during the meal, and/or that I will not attend unless he does so?
GENTLE READER: Although hardly a tech expert, Miss Manners was under the assumption that smart speakers were usually there to provide music, not to record conversations in case of enemy infiltration.
While she finds these two things almost equally annoying in a dining room, where people want to talk, the former is not a crime. She therefore suggests that rather than accuse your host of espionage, you politely ask if the speaker can be removed so that you may better hear his guests.
But then, you should probably make sure all smartphones are similarly banished, because those will likely have the same recording technology as the speaker.