Amazon Alexa, listening and localizing?

According to a new article from Bloomberg  Amazon Alexa team can not only listen to your private conversation but also access users’ home address.

I am not sure how either of those pieces of information is a surprise to anyone? Amazon Alexa has a microphone permanently On and is always connected to the internet. You can definitely be sure that some pieces of conversation are captured and treated. The internet connection also gives a more or less precise location. But apparently, in this case, the shipping or account address was also accessible.

The location may sound less frightening than the listening part, but it actually means that it is definitely possible to identify an individual, following him/her etc. which also contradict a previous declaration from Amazon.

Amazon is trying to explain itself in the following statement: “access to internal tools is highly controlled, and is only granted to a limited number of employees who require these tools to train and improve the service by processing an extremely small sample of interactions. Our policies strictly prohibit employee access to or use of customer data for any other reason, and we have a zero tolerance policy for abuse of our systems. We regularly audit employee access to internal tools and limit access whenever and wherever possible.”

That information is pretty hard to check, and it is doubtful that a limited number of employees would be able to manage all those data.

In the end, the decision is yours, if you care about your privacy a system like Amazon Alexa may not be the best choice. But if you are fine in having a company collecting data,  then I have to admit that it is a helpful tool. Let’s also be honest on the fact that social media, web browser, account etc are always collecting data on us. So it more depends on where you fix your own limit to it.

 

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