If you use Alexa devices, Amazon is spying on you. Their devices record every sound their audio pickups detects 24 hours a day and seven days a week. This means a not-so-altruistic public corporation has very intimate details about your private life that they shouldn’t. And worse, everything thing Amazon records can be subpoenaed by the US government (at best) or just back-doored (at worst). Why do people let Amazon have this kind of access? To make it easier to order socks?
It is true that Millennials and Generation-Z are notorious for not really caring about personal privacy. The onset of social networking apps from Facebook, Google, and Twitter has ensured that users of those networks reveal tremendous details about themselves just to avoid having to pay an annual fee. In fact, Facebook has been able to pay a small fee to many of its users in exchange for tracking and recording every single electronic detail about their lives.
So maybe I am the only one who thought Amazon’s Super Bowl commercial making fun of its ubiquitousness and creepiness was appalling. Not only is Amazon admitting its intrusion into the life of Americans, they are crowing about it. Sure, Harrison Ford’s dog wearing an Alexa collar and ordering dog food was funny. The first time. The commercial gets less funny each time I see it.
Alexa, and similar devices from other companies, corrodes civil liberties already weakened by commercial data warehousing of people’s browsing habits and locations. The devices should be banned, or be required to be disconnected from the Internet at all times. I suspect the devices already fall afoul of the law in those states that require permission from all parties for audio recording. Sure, without the remote server driven voice recognition software and search, the devices would be almost useless.
Thank goodness for that.