Is Alexa Spying On Your Family?
Could Alexa be spying on your family conversations and other activities? Multiple reports have been made about Alexa recording private conversations and sending that information back to Amazon and in some cases, to email addresses and phone numbers in the owner’s address book. Though Amazon has denied any allegations that the recordings were intentional, many people are concerned. Data privacy experts worry that using any type of AI device or software may leave people vulnerable to data capture and data logging. Alexa is only one of many such programs that are touted as personal assistants that work on a specific device, in this case, Amazon Echo. There is also Siri from Apple, Cortana from Microsoft, Bixby by Samsung, Google Home, Ivee, Homey, Cubic, and Clova by the South Korean company Naver. These are only some of the most popular and well-known technologies that are currently on the market.
Most companies who own these technologies say that the rare instances of the AI recording conversations came about due to someone saying something that sounded like a voice command “record” and then saying something that sounded like “send this recording” to Mr. X. They say that it’s an issue with the functionality and is just a bug that needs to be fixed. Others are dubious that this is the case and believe it is much more likely that personal conversations are being recorded and then sent to a server to be stored, saved and sold for valuable data mining purposes. It’s a terrifying concept that companies and the government has become so lustful of our personal information that they are willing to break countless laws and ethical standards just to find out what we talk about over dinner or in the bedroom.
In another case, Amazon was asked to hand over Echo recordings in a murder investigation. Amazon refused until the suspect requested the information be released to exonorate him. The prosecutors later dropped the charges because there was no clear evidence that murder was involved. The family of the dead man believes otherwise. This situation bought into the light that Amazon indeed, does record certain information and sends it to a server where it is stored for an indeterminate amount of time. Whether or not this information is sold, was not mentioned.
With the huge amount of personal information about us being taken, bought and sold freely without our knowledge or consent, it is worth considering that you may not want to have voice command technology in your home. You may also want to disable your phone’s “assistant” if you don’t use it that often. If you’re concerned that your data is being shared online, do a google search for your name, address and family names. If you find that your name and other information is online contact an internet removal service who can remove your address from the internet. If you need delete information to protect your privacy you should consider taking more drastic steps to remove your name off of the internet.