Is Alexa big brother?

By Justin Ware. Published at Apr 12, 2019, in Ctrl Alt Del

We’re used to Alexa listening when we ask questions, but it turns out Amazon is listening too.

Earlier today it was revealed that Amazon has assembled a global crack team to listen to a ‘random’ selection of user recordings. These workers then transcribe the audio, listening to as many as 1,000 audio clips in nine hour shifts.

Amazon has expanded its audio transcription army into several countries including the United States, Costa Rica and Romania.

According to the company, Alexa only records audio after the ‘wake’ command is given. Any audio after this command is retained by the device and relayed back into Amazon’s servers to improve its grasp of human speech.

“By default, Echo devices are designed to detect only your chosen wake word,” a spokesperson said.

Users may opt out of Amazon using their recordings in the privacy sections of the Alexa app.

Amazon’s privacy statement includes the following:

“Customer trust is of the utmost important. We build Echo devices with privacy in mind from the beginning, striving to put the control in our customers’ hands. We recognise one single solution won’t be sufficient for every customer, and have built multiple layers of privacy protections into Echo devices.”

If it built Echo devices with privacy in mind from the beginning, why are users opted in to device recording automatically?

In addition, this isn’t the first time Amazon has come under fire when it comes to privacy. Just last year, an Amazon Echo user reported that the device had recorded a conversation without permission, before sending it to an Amazon employee in Seattle.

It’s stories like these that should give you pause when weighing up a smart home device purchase.

Fergus Hanson, who is the head of cyber policy at the Australian Security Policy Institute, believes smart home devices add an ‘extra layer’ of vulnerability to the household.

“Home assistants are basically adding an extra vulnerability to every home in Australia, they’re constantly listening.

“There have been examples where they’ve demonstrated that you can hack into an Amazon Echo. These have been reported to Amazon and fixed, but every piece of equipment has vulnerabilities and can be exploited,” he said.

Is a cool tech gimmick really worth your privacy (or what little is left of it)?

I’m not so sure.

S3 Consortium Pty Ltd (CAR No.433913) is a corporate authorised representative of LeMessurier Securities Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 296877). The information contained in this article is general information only. Any advice is general advice only. Neither your personal objectives, financial situation nor needs have been taken into consideration. Accordingly you should consider how appropriate the advice (if any) is to those objectives, financial situation and needs, before acting on the advice.

Conflict of Interest Notice

S3 Consortium Pty Ltd does and seeks to do business with companies featured in its articles. As a result, investors should be aware that the Firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this article. Investors should consider this article as only a single factor in making any investment decision. The publishers of this article also wish to disclose that they may hold this stock in their portfolios and that any decision to purchase this stock should be done so after the purchaser has made their own inquires as to the validity of any information in this article.

Publishers Notice

The information contained in this article is current at the finalised date. The information contained in this article is based on sources reasonably considered to be reliable by S3 Consortium Pty Ltd, and available in the public domain. No “insider information” is ever sourced, disclosed or used by S3 Consortium.

Australian ASX Small Cap stocks | Why Finfeed.com is Australia’s leading small cap publication

Founded seven years ago, Finfeed.com is Australia’s leading and longest standing website for investor and finance news, education and expert opinion.

Published by StocksDigital, Finfeed was created to report daily on the comings and goings of ASX listed stocks in the small cap market.

As the first digital publication dedicated specifically to this space, Finfeed soon became the most trusted publication in the market, quickly garnering over two million page views – a number that continues to rise.

Finfeed.com provides its readers with informative articles that tackle the latest in market moving #ASX small cap news, plus exclusive content you won’t find anywhere else. It is aimed at those with an interest in investing, market education, company performance, start-ups and much more.

Finfeed.com is the only media organisation operating under the strength of a Financial Services License and is backed by leading journalists and analysts all with brands of their own.

The website aims to inform, educate and entertain with content that drills down into the heart of financial matters.

Finfeed is a leading source of investor and market information, with everything investors need to know about how to invest written in a way that anyone can understand. 

Over the years, the website has expanded beyond exclusively reporting on small caps, to profile Australia’s leading ASX listed small, mid and large caps as well as some of the country’s most successful CEOs and business leaders to find out what makes them tick.

Every day you will find fresh content covering:

Fast Facts

Over 4,000 articles published

Over 2.3 Million Page Views and counting

Over 10,000 followers on social media

Subscriber list growing by 2% monthly

Thanks for subscribing!

X