Did you ever get the feeling someone was watching or listening to every conversation? Robert Frederick, a former executive at Amazon Web Services, felt that way ever since he owned the latest buzz in the world of technology known as Alexa.
He admits he turns the switch to off when he has a private conversation in his office. The question we have to ask ourselves is if an executive doesn’t trust the device, should we?
Frederick told BBC’s Panorama program his previous employer can listen to his conversations and “private moments” with the Echo smart speaker, and he would rather them not hear what is said.
He stated, “I turn off my Alexa when I know for a fact that the conversation that I’m going to have, or whenever I just want to have a private moment. I don’t want certain conversations to be heard by humans.”
Panorama posted a video with the caption on Twitter of Frederick’s words, “Robert Frederick used to be a senior Amazon executive. He says his Alexa makes him nervous.”
Another former employee who was a senior editor James Marcus also told Panorama program, ” I simply hate the idea of voluntarily putting a bug into my living room, and knowing that some schmo in Seattle might be listening to it on a headset.”
Bloomberg reported in 2019, there are thousands of people employed by Amazon all across the world who are capable of listening to conversations in offices and homes. These conversations are recorded, transcribed, annotated, and put back into the system to improve the understanding of Alexa’s human commands.
Here is the full documentary if you’d like to watch:
Everyone wonders where can a device of such intelligence gain so much information. Well, it gains it from us. It’s pretty scary when the thought sinks in that all of our conversations feed this device.
As per the article posted by Panorama, those who work in Amazon can hear what is being said anywhere Alexa has been placed. Conversations such as internal chat rooms, upsetting tones, private and intimate conversations, criminal activity, sexual assault, and someone who can’t sing worth a lick in the shower is all captured by Alexa.
Amazon responded to the article by saying, “We take the security and privacy of our customers’ personal information seriously.” They insisted only an “extremely small sample” of recordings are used. There is no identification within the recordings to show who is being recorded.
The statement continued, “We have strict technical and operational safeguards, and have a zero-tolerance policy for the abuse of our system. Employees do not have direct access to information that can identify the person or account as part of this workflow. All information is treated with high confidentiality, and we use multi-factor authentication to restrict access, service encryption, and audits of our control environment to protect it.”
If someone said twenty years ago, every home and office in the world was going to be spied on, we would think they lost their minds. How could anyone spy on everyone all at once? Today’s technology gives us that answer in its scary situations.
We have grown accustomed to today’s technology almost to the point we cannot function without it. To think now, we don’t have any control or say so in our privacy is insane. The world has been fed little by little to where people grow used to the ideas of having all these fancy gadgets, and now it’s coming back to bite us.
If Hitler and the Nazi’s had this kind of technology back then, there is no way there would be a world left for us today. Communism would have become victorious, and we would be living like robots. Well, we are living like zombies staring down at our cell phones almost 24/7.
The bottom line is, we did this to ourselves. All it takes is the curiosity of people to see something fancy, want it, then buy it and put it in our homes.
Everything is regulated they say, yeah sure it is… This is the simplest way to get people to succumb to their own downfall. Back in the old days, the only way to get the latest news on someone was to gossip.
People can’t even interact anymore in that fashion today. Now the latest is turn on Alexa and see what the neighbors are saying. Ssshhh… Quiet, they are talking about us! Let’s hear what they have to say, shall we? And let’s not even speak government on what they hear.