Amazon's being greasy about Alexa user data. Again

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I will never have one of these things in my house. I feel queasy enough with Siri on my iPhone (which I rarely ever use; I prefer typing my requests).


An iPhone is as much as an “always on listening device” as Alexa is. I understand how the overt nature of the voice activation of some devices makes them feel more intrusive but the fact is that an iPhone is a camera, microphone and GPS all controlled by closed, proprietary code provided by an organisation who can use your data in myriad ways. There should be zero difference between how you treat the devices.


Siri isn’t turned on on my device except via the button. No voice activation. And I don’t use Apple’s cloud either. My data stays on my device and isn’t stored in their systems. If I ever hear that Apple is violating the trust I have that I control my data in the ways that Amazon has been, the phone will get pitched into the nearest crusher I can find.

Your mileage may vary of course. I find the idea of handing off control of my stuff to a corporation to be the stupidest thing we can do as consumers. Corporations can and will violate our trust at every opportunity to make a buck.


I, likewise, don’t trust corporations with my data but I choose to use some services understanding the trade-offs - acknowledging that I’m giving up control of some of my data. I use Google phones and Amazon voice recognition devices (I generally use them as a voice-recognition service to control services directly in my control, very little in the way of apps).

I’m glad that the scrutiny that Alexa devices have been given by security experts and skeptics has kept it clear the specifics of what’s happening, even if Amazon lie, miscommunicate or mislead about it.


I mean if I buy something from someone I can be reasonably sure that they will keep a record of the transaction. Doubly so if a transcription error could cost me money.


We need a Right To Be Forgotten law with serious teeth, like the EU has. Post haste.


People like PharmaBro would be first in line to apply.

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If Amazon sells this thing to EU customers they will need to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Among other things that requires them to have a legitimate reason to collect data. If the data’s necessary to provide the Alexa services to you, then that’s ok. If you gave them permission to collect it, then that’s ok. “Selling you stuff” is kinda ok, because Amazon is in that business, but “selling your data to random other people who are selling you stuff” is really stretching it, as I understand it anyway.

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Next post BB store offering “GREAT deal on Amazon Alexa products this week only”…


Amazon devices are way too chatty for my liking. I’ve monitored network traffic for both ios and amazon devices. Blocking “telemetry services” for ios is pretty straightforward. Amazon devices get really angry if they cant contact the mother ship, pretty much constantly.

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