Alexa, what are you doing in my room?

How much would you pay someone to invade the privacy of your home? Or to search your premises continuously, breaching your barrier against tyranny? Similarly, would you pay to have your home wiretapped? And your life tapped?

Now consider Alexa, the personal assistant residing in Amazon’s Echo products. These are available at prices beginning under $50. In today’s red-hot technology domain, such devices are seen as exemplars of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) technology.

Highlights from the Echo product page include these:
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-JD

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12 Responses to Alexa, what are you doing in my room?

  1. Unclezip says:

    Even with (or despite) my technical background, I won’t allow that crap in my home. I make sure every device in the house (other than the bastion host) is using a private secured wireless net, which does not connect to the outside. I realize it’s not as secure as it could be, but it’s safer than most. I’m looking at my neghbor’s wireless connections right now – every home within a couple hundred yards, and could hack into pretty much every one of them.

    The internet is kinda like sex – it ain’t entirely safe unless you abstain altogether.

    • Bacon says:

      Yeah, exactly. Perhaps not ‘even with’, or ‘despite’, but ‘because of’. Due to my technical background, I will never trust technology.

      Securing it is a good start but IMHO it isn’t enough. It costs nothing to unplug the fucking things when they’re not actually in use.

  2. singlestack says:

    I won’t have any “internet of things” type devices in my house.
    I have a wifi router so I can make phone calls from home but that’s it. I also keep a piece of electrical tape over the camera on my laptop.

    • Arc says:

      Wired everything here, except ankle bracelet (cell). Laptops, just disconnect the antenna in the modem compartment or pull the card out. The bloody things are pretty much disposable and you can get another from just about any recycled laptop. Tape over the camera is great but there is also the matter of the microphone in the bezel. Its not much to pop the bezel apart and disconnect the web cam / mic board, or outright remove it.

      If you don’t want to remove the board, you can not install the drivers, making it dead hardware. Tape for added security, privacy is a lifestyle. A dumb computer monitor does the exact same thing a smart TV does, minus the price tag. 4K TVs are in the $500 range now.

  3. Mort says:

    Police have already subpoenaed Alexa and other digital assistant sound recordings for use in criminal trials and civil suits.

    The new generation of vehicle “black boxes” are also going to be fertile ground for law enforcement. The police (and anyone with a search warrant) will be able to read all of the preserved telemetry about how you were driving recently as well as all of the recent GPS data. You may find your own car testifying against you in court!

    • Exile1981 says:

      A friend of mine was killed last summer in an accident. The driver of the other vehicle claimed my friend rear end him at twice the speed limit.

      At 1st the police all accepted that story but we argued it was impossible as his truck had a speed limiter on it and couldn’t do more than 120km/hr. The cops got a warrent for the black box in the semi he hit and the big company that owns the semi is refusing to hand it over.

      The cops finally got it and it looks like the semi was parked on the highway at night with lights off and in a lane not pulled off at early am.

      Turns out the semi driver was out of the semi praying on his mat when the accident happened.

  4. RocketmanKarl says:

    When I visited my brother recently, he was showing off his Alexa and all she could do. I held my tongue and smiled. I won’t have any IOT devices in my house.

  5. whatever! luis says:

    Alexa sounds like an ex girlfriend I had.

  6. Every word you speak into your Fire or other tablet is recorded and saved on someones servers. I had fun using the voice dictate with the tablet until I found out that nothing spoken into that thing is deleted. Chilling to listen to a playback of a chatty email you sent last year.
    Doesn’t take long for someone to build up a spoken vocabulary (in your voice) that they could use to mimic you saying anything in the world they wanted you to be charged with saying.

    And that’s just the times that you THINK that it’s listening. Truth is, it never stops.

  7. Lylelovett666 says:

    I have the dot. It was a gift. I can see no reason to have one. It doesn’t really do anything that I can’t don’t with my iPhone. It lives in my bathroom so they must be getting some good audio of me brushing my teeth & taking my morning growler.

  8. Padawan says:

    People in the 60’s: “In the future the government will wire tap our houses.”

    People today: “Wire tap: can cats eat pancakes?”

  9. anonymous says:

    I couldn’t stand for that Alexa crap. Way too much personal space invasion opportunity.

    I could use a ‘Smithers’ though (cartoon character from ‘The Simpsons’- Mr. Burns assistant). Did the heavy lifting when called upon. I got a traffic ticket last Thursday. If I had a ‘Smither’s, I could tell him:

    SMITHERS – COME THERE THIS INSTANT! THIS POLICE OFFICER HAS ISSUED ME A CITATION.

    QUICKLY – REMOVE LEG FROM YON PIANO, AND BEAT HIM AS IF HE WERE A PINATA!

    Fuckin’ A – I need a ‘Smithers’ !!

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