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Is the Amazon "Alexa Echo" an Invasion of Privacy?


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May 25, 2018
Categories: Society, Technology

Is the Amazon "Alexa Echo" an Invasion of Privacy?

As technology advances, many Americans are becoming increasingly, and even justifiably, concerned about their privacy. However, recently, Amazon's "Alexa Echo" is taking these typical fears to a new level. Recently, a married couple in Oregon utilized the Alexa technology in every room of their homes. However, one night, the voice of a colleague instructed the couple to "unplug all of their Alexa's." Turns out, their conversation was being recorded and unknowingly sent to individuals throughout the country. Obviously alarmed, they contacted Amazon and shared their experience with friends and on media outlets.

Amazon's Alexa's have the ability to "hear" every conversation that is occurring in a room and even an entire home. She's always listening, waiting for an instruction. This has its pros and cons. Alexa is an easy-to-use, hands-free way of controlling internal and external situations in the home (i.e. turn off the lights) as well as organization (i.e. grocery lists) and entertainment (i.e. play music). 

"Play country music," "add bread to the grocery list," and "call mom" are the types of instructions that she is standing by for, but all auditory stimulus within the home is being perceived. Many claim that Alexa is an invasion of privacy and has the potential to expose personal conversations. Amazon was contacted regarding this couple's experience and was not only apologetic but also eager to find a solution.

What do you think about this situation and the Amazon "Alexa Echo" in general? Would you buy one and use one in your house?

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