Type: Response Essays
Sample donated: Derrick Nunez
Last updated: August 25, 2019
“Alexa are you part ofthe government?” With the introduction of the Amazon Eco device and its voice-activatedvirtual assistant Alexa into many of our homes we are perfectly entitled to askthis question. A smart speaker that is always listening for it to work. Alexaworks by constantly listening for someone to voice a command word such as ‘Alexa’.Once this command word has been said Alexa listens and shares everything thatis said with the Amazon databases. This data is then stored. How much does Alexa share with its databases?Does it only share the data you say to it? There are many conspiracy theories circulating about Alexa,the majority being generated from a video posted online where a lady asks Alexa,”Are you connected to the CIA?” andAlexa ignores the question then turns off. In response, Amazon replied with avideo stating that ‘Alexa is not working for the CIA’.
Obviously, Amazon wouldn’tadmit that Alexa is working for the government regardless of the situationhowever this won’t stop sceptics. Furthermore, we must ask ourselves ‘what?’and ‘why?’ would the government be listening in on us? With the growing extent of terrorism threats and attacksthat undergo every year reaching over 13,000 per year, worldwide, for the past5 years, is Alexa being used to listen in behind closed doors. The governmenthave resorted to hacking tools so personal conversations can be monitored. Isthe invasion of our privacy for our own safety where Alexa is being used as an intelligencemethod for terrorism and other suspect activities? But then again, how many guerrillasare going to have implemented Alexa into their homes? There is evidence that Alexa is listening to you when you aren’ttalking to the device and Amazon stores this information on its archives. Thiswas proved by Amazon themselves after a man was found dead in a bath tub at hisfriend’s house after they spent the night together drinking. The local authorities requested the recordingsfrom the Alexa in the home and Amazon were very hesitant to give away this dataas it would break consumer rights. However, James Bates, who was the owner ofthe property that his friend died on, granted access for Amazon to give awaythis data which resulted in the James being charged with murder.
Some peopleare shocked that Amazon are able to even provide this information others believethat this could lead to annihilation of people’s privacy. Knowing that Alexahas these capabilities people will be cautious that with consent Amazon shouldrelay recordings to police services. Alexa is always listening and stores all recordings forevery smart speaker on their database, the question is does Amazon share thisinformation with top secret services that don’t need to broadcast theinformation publicly but can use the data as intelligence to act on the offendersand catch them red handed, which they can use for evidence instead of therecordings. If you own a Smart Speaker like Alexa say ‘hello’ because you aremost likely being listened to whilst you sleep.