19/02/2020

Hey Alexa! Is This Proof You're Spying On Us

Google Home, Amazon’s Echo and the like are often referred to as internet-enabled speakers, but that’s only half the story. If we called them internet-enabled microphones we’d feel a little creeped out. They are in our homes listening to us all the time.

When I first got one I like it. It was rare to be listened to at home. But now we’re hearing stories about how these things spy on us.

A former Amazon executive, Robert Fredrick, has said he turns the company’s Alexa smart speakers off when he wants to have a ‘private’ moment.

We all assume he means sex. What other private moment would you not want recording? You’re far less likely to shout out the wrong name during a poo.

It must act as an early warning sign for his missus. When she notices him going round unplugging the smart speakers she knows what’s about to happen.

Recently we heard that Amazon admitted it did turn over recordings made by Alexa to contractors to analyse. Those contractors aren’t meant to let humans have a listen and laugh at the rude stuff but you can’t be sure. It’s the same logic that means you didn’t take your saucy photos to be developed in Snappy Snaps.

In an interview with the BBC, Robert said he turns the devices off if he wants to talk about something that he wouldn’t want people listening to. He said, “I don’t want certain conversations to be heard by humans.”

The obvious question is, if he doesn’t want humans to hear it, who is he having that conversation with?

It’s either our alien overlords or is Henry the Hoover needs help.




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