Smart homes

How Amazon will take over your house

Illustration of an Amazon box house with a spotlight on it
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In recent years, Amazon has made a series of investments, acquisitions and R&D moves in the smart home industry. None seemed particularly consequential on its own, but with a real estate deal last week, Amazon appears to have captured first-mover advantage in one of the most important new industries on the planet.

Why it matters: With the deals, Amazon has taken a pioneering lead in what has come to be called "surveillance capitalism," which includes some of the biggest businesses of the future, like 5G, autonomous vehicles and smart cities. Now, the behemoth, with its edge in this new economy, is positioned to explode its revenue.

Alexa users' addresses can be found by Amazon's audit team

Case of Amazon Alexa products in a store
Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Amazon's Alexa audit team, which helps improve responses for the online assistant, has the ability to obtain customers' home addresses via their location data, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: While there is no evidence that Amazon employees have attempted to do so, with Amazon telling Bloomberg that these instances are "highly controlled," it's yet another example of how customers can fail to understand how much personal data they're sharing by utilizing Big Tech products and services.

Go deeper: The privacy paradox