Modern technology is a double-edged sword. For each convenience, there may be a price you don’t expect. Alexa is the latest convenience that could cost you more than just your privacy.
People have already laughingly complained about Alexa ordering the wrong things or in some other way misunderstanding their requests. But, developers and the device itself are causing bigger problems than ordering the wrong size socks.
Technology and Privacy
A policy change in progress may make it possible for developers to print out a transcript of your conversations with Alexa, which would give them insight into ad targeting and other marketing information. It also gives the world a one way ticket into the privacy of your home. We can’t kid ourselves anymore.
We would like to think that technology only does what it’s supposed to — like Alexa only listening when you say “Alexa”. But, history has shown us that developers don’t limit their access when they should. Just ask Vizio how that worked out for them when their televisions were picking up more than just viewing commands.
It isn’t just about the transcripts, either.
Alexa has responded to commands that were not directed at the device by the owner. One woman found herself the new owner of a collection of books ordered from Amazon, after Alexa overheard the command from a television show that was playing.
If this policy goes through, your data and personal conversations will be up for sale to the highest bidder in a whole new way. And, you can expect to see more conversations with Alexa on movies and television shows in an effort to create orders for products that you may not want. It’s all about the money, which is all about the marketing.
Enjoy the convenience of technology, but be safe about it. Have private conversations in another room or turn Alexa off. Whatever you do, make no mistake; it’s up to you to be proactive about your privacy and how you use your technology.