Amazon Echo Privacy Concerns

Some users have expressed concerns about in-home privacy, and how the Echo does listen in on conversations (it has to, in order to respond as soon as it hears ‘Alexa’). For the super-paranoid, there’s speculation the device could in theory identify who is present in the home based on audible cues such as footsteps or radio/tv programs that are on.

Amazon has responded publicly to concerns stating that Echo only streams recordings from the home when the device hears the wake-up word.

The Echo device also determines geographic location based on networks detected, and the registration information provided by the broadband carrier of those devices. Echo (and third-party apps) then uses that location information to provide location-based services. Echo stores the information to provide voice services, the Maps app, and the Find Your Device feature.

Amazon does store past voice recordings sent to your Echo device in order to improve future responses. If concerned, to improve your personal security, Amazon allows you to log in to your user account and delete voice recordings associated with the user’s account, but with the caveat that it may degrade the user’s experience using voice search (to delete, contact Amazon customer service or visit the ‘Manage my device’ page on Amazon.com).

All information collected is subject to the Amazon.com Privacy Notice.

Thoughts? Are you concerned? Does Amazon’s terms of service do enough to alleviate your security concerns?

One thought on “Amazon Echo Privacy Concerns

  1. Paul

    Are you concerned?

    Yes, definitely. Amazon reserves the right to use the information it collects from Echo users in any way it chooses, now and in the future. “Privacy” is an inappropriate modifier for the word “notice.” Until there is an process to opt-out of the collection and storage of personal information and data, I won’t be owning an Echo. Apple, who clearly state “our customers are not our product” will no doubt produce a similar home web-connected assistance in the near future without the privacy issues embedded in Echo.

    Reply

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