May 9, 2017

Amazon's "Echo Show" raises privacy concerns

Amazon

Amazon's newest addition to its digital home assistant, Alexa, is the Echo Show, which can hook users up to video calls, nursery camera footage, thermostat controls, and texting through voice-controlled commands and a touchscreen. It also has Dolby speakers, eight microphones, and a 5-megapixel camera.

Critics are voicing concerns that the Echo Show is even creepier than Alexa since it can listen and watch users, but Amazon says Echo Show will only activate when it hears a "wake word" (like "Alexa") and turn off after the command is done. It also says while you can drop in on other rooms in your home, users can decide who can drop in on them.

This might give users pause: Although Amazon initially resisted due to First Amendment concerns, it recently handed over Echo speaker data to an Arkansas murder investigation — Alexa is in an "always-listen mode" and could contain data revealing what happened minutes before a murder took place.

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