The Amazon Echo along with Google Home are the coolest toys on the market for adults in today’s world.
But while chanting Google and Alexa’s name in your kitchen feels powerful while your guests oooh at your commanding and confident voice commands — some are not too sure about owning a device that listens to every word you say.
So the million dollar question is this: are these smart devices actually spying on us?
Yes and no.
And that may not be a bad thing.
The purpose of these smart devices is to make our lives easier.
Recently, one woman from Portland, Oregon, discovered that her Echo had recorded a conversation between her and her husband — then sent it to an employee of his.
Amazon shared how that Alex had heard a ‘wake word’ and ‘woke up.’
And that’s when she started recording.
Amazon said: “Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like [the Echo’s ‘wake word’] ‘Alexa’.
“Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a ‘send message’ request. At which point, Alexa said out loud ‘To whom?’ At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list.”
“Alexa asked, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right’.”
Hmm…still bizarre if you ask me.
And to get even more weird, among the 12,000 terms and conditions Amazon Echo comes with, it says this:
“Alexa processes and retains your Alexa interactions . . . including voice inputs . . . and content you provide or receive through [Alexa]’ and that ‘your messages, communications requests and related interactions’ are all stored in its online servers.”
Yeesh. Okay folks, that is a little creepy to say the least.
However, it does also say that ‘she’ is trained to wake up only when a specific trigger word is spoken. That’s when she starts recording.
Silkie Carlo from a privacy campaign group by the name of Big Brother Watch recently shared with the The Mail:
“The very idea of a smart home is one of ambient surveillance and constant recording. Many smart devices are essentially internet-connected surveillance devices that their owners have limited control of.”
“The terms are deliberately set out to protect the company’s interests rather than the user’s. Families should think carefully about the security risks before spending their money on these devices.”
But that’s not the only scary thing smart devices have been up to as of late.
In two separate incidents, smart device owners have reported Alexa laughing with no prompt whatsoever.
The echo has also been reported to talk to herself as well as say the phrase “Every time I close my eyes, I see people dying.” again, without any prompt.
Are you getting chills yet?
And according to a Reddit user, Alexa has even attempted to change the subject during a spousal argument — almost as if it was trying to end the conflict, later saying that there was no record of this in the chat logs.
So before you go out and make a purchase this holiday season, just remember….someone may be waiting to listen.
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