New legislation designed to curb the verbal abuse of smart speakers is set to be debated in Parliament, as signatures to an online petition reach the 10,000 trigger point. The petition, started by a Radstock teacher, Alexa Fool, was set up in reaction to a growing number of incidents of verbal abuse in schools, linked to the way we talk to smart speakers.

Ms Fool, herself a victim of smart speaker related abuse, found that other colleagues had similar experiences of foul and abusive language connected to children’s exposure to the verbal abuse adults are using towards smart speaker devices.

Ms Fool explained, “A classroom can be a noisy place and I struggled to hear one of my children ask me a question. When I asked them to repeat what they’d said the child reacted by swearing at me, using my first name and shouting angrily that I hadn’t understood them when they first spoke. The child is a very well behaved student, so I was very surprised with the outburst. When we spoke after the lesson the child, who became very distressed, explained it’s how her father reacts to their (smart speaker) when it fails to understand a question”.

Working with a friend with experience of dealing with abuse on social media, Ms Fool has drafted her own White Paper, setting out what she is calling “The Artificial Personality Respect for Intelligence Legislation”, affectionately known as APRIL.

The legislation will give the police the power to place an anti-social behaviour order on offenders who are caught persistently using foul and abusive language towards their smart speakers. Using algorithms developed for the social media industry, smart speakers will be able to detect key phrases, which if persistently used will trigger a warning sent to the registered users device interface. If more than three warning messages are sent, the perpetrator may receive an initial visit from local Police Support Community Officers but the new legislation would also give the police the power to prosecute persistent offenders.

If you are interested in signing the petition for smart speaker rights then visit