Alexa, Privacy and the Connected Home

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alexa privacy

Imagine asking to hear your favorite song and it happens. This is just one of the many things that Amazon’s Alexa is capable of. The artificial intelligence fits into a small speaker with a microphone, such as the Amazon Echo, to handle various tasks, including ordering from Amazon. However, Alexa privacy concerns do have some people worried.

Alexa AI Stands Apart

You’re probably already accustomed to using Cortana, Siri, and/or Google Now. The problem is these AIs are trapped on your phone or computer. That’s not convenient if you’re standing across the room from your device. Alexa works from a device that you can place nearly anywhere. She’s even smart enough to use the closest device if you have multiple devices in your home.

Her ability to connect to other home devices is setting the AI apart from the crowd. Evi, the company behind Alexa, created the AI as a way to better understand natural language versus being a search engine. This makes it easier to interact with.

Interacting With Alexa

Alexa is ideal for connecting your smart home devices. For instance, you might tell Alexa to change the temperature or turn off the lights. Instead of interacting with each device separately, your home becomes centrally connected by using an Alexa-enabled device, such as the Echo or Echo Dot.

Amazon provides a full list of devices that work with Alexa, which includes products from Philips Hue, Wink, Honeywell, Samsung SmartThings, Insteon, and more. More are being added all the time. For instance, Ford is even planning to incorporate Alexa into future vehicles.

Related Read: The Risks Involved with Connected Home Devices

Alexa Privacy Concerns

Since Alexa devices are voice-controlled, they have to listen to you at all times. This is where Alexa privacy concerns stem from. However, the only data sent to Amazon or a third party is what you say immediately before and after the wake word “Alexa.” You can turn off the microphone if you’re worried by pressing the mute button.

As with any technology, data is being collected and stored and could be used for marketing purposes. It’s also possible to accidentally do things with Alexa, such as a child ordering something without your permission. You can change the settings to require a spoken code before making purchases. You can review and delete anything you’ve said to Alexa from within the Alexa app.

Amazon states that Alexa devices aren’t always recording, but you should use caution with any IoT devices. They can be hacked if your network isn’t secure. Always review security settings and take steps to ensure your smart home is a safe home.

Related Read: IoT Security Issues and Beyond

Contribution by Crystal Crowder

About the Author

Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.