Convenience vs privacy

I am not an expert in either convenience nor privacy. But I do read about such things, and I have an Amazon Echo Dot in the kitchen. Mostly it’s a fancy voice activated tea timer. And we recently got a smart plug so we can tell Alexa to turn off the Christmas tree without being bothered to bend over and unplug the thing. I feel surprisingly powerful when I make the Christmas tree lights turn off and on with just my voice.

I am certain that Amazon collects the voice snippets I direct at Alexa. I’m convinced (a very different standard from ‘certain’) that Amazon collects everything else I say, regardless of whether it is preceded by the ‘Alexa’ keyword. Nothing weird has happened at our house, I’ve just read enough reports of weird things, and reports from terminated Amazon contractors. Also, if Amazon could gather that data and parse it in a meaningful way to help nudge your buying patterns on their website, I assume they would certainly assess the risk of getting caught against the value of the activity.

Anyway, I guess I let ‘em listen in. Turning off the Christmas tree with just my voice is apparently worth it.

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