My echo just creeped me out


(Chris) #1

So I’ve had my echo for about 4 months now and have never been worried about the “always listening” aspect of her until now…a couple days ago, my fiancé yells to me from the kitchen (within earshot of Alexa), “we need more jet dry!” The next day, THIS shows up on my Facebook newsfeed…mind you, I’ve NEVER purchased or searched for anything like this on Amazon! Only electronics and stuff like that. No groceries…and all of my Amazon suggestions have been of the electronics type. anyone have anything like this happen?


(Marc) #2

Perhaps your fiance has and since Fb might know your engaged to her?? Could be a coincidence but this does seem creepy.


#3

It doesn’t work that way.

First of all, you would’ve had to say the wake word (usually Alexa) before it would do anything. The only thing that the echo is always listening for is the wake word. It doesn’t process anything else until the wake word happens.

Second, for regular products you can only purchase things through Alexa that you have previously purchased through that same prime account. And you have to verbally confirm the order before it is placed.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can ask Alexa to order select Prime-eligible items from your order history. When Alexa finds the item, you can confirm or cancel the order. If two similar items are available to order, Alexa offers the second item when you decline to order the first item.

So there is no stealth ordering, no matter what you say in front of the Echo. It has to be the sequence of wake word – – purchase command – – confirm purchase.

Check with Amazon to be sure, but the Alexa shopping process is pretty transparent. You shouldn’t get any surprises.


#4

Sorry, I misunderstood and thought you said the order had been placed. My bad.

Again, though, the only thing it’s always listening for is the wake word. And that listening is all done locally. It’s not until the wake word is recognized that anything gets sent to the cloud. So my guess is it was just a coincidence and that happened to be one of the featured items this week.


(Chris) #5

She says she hasn’t searched it…I’m hoping it’s just a coincidence. Lol


(Chris) #6

I mean, if she’s always listening to her wake word, she’s always listening…the wake word is used so she knows a command is coming her way. But, in theory, the thing has the capabilities to record EVERYTHING and use key words for advertising purposes. I wouldn’t put it past a company like Amazon to do this…who knows? Maybe it’s not a fully used practice yet and is only done sometimes because an exposure of practices like this could call into question their ethics and could really hurt them and the product. That could be a reason not everyone has encountered this (yet). Or maybe my inner “conspiracy theory nut” is coming back out from my X-Files watching days…lol


#7

Voice processing is done in the cloud because it’s really complex and resource intensive. That’s why the wake words are used for Google, Siri, and echo. That way the only thing the device has to recognize is that specific set of syllables. Once it does recognize the wake word, it then starts sending information to the cloud. So that’s the always listening part.

Obviously, the technology exists to do more, so it comes down to whether you feel comfortable with the publicly stated set up.

You can configure the echo so that there is a tone every time it starts sending information to the cloud, but again, if Amazon or law-enforcement wanted to circumvent that, they undoubtedly could. So again, there is a certain level of trust involved.

But the same is true of pretty much any voice processing that has a cloud component. Smart TVs, smart phones, Even smart thermostats and smoke detectors.

And of course if you think you might be a specific target of law-enforcement, the technology is such that they don’t even have to have a device inside your home in order to record audio. They can do it with long-range Mics. There are legal restrictions, but not technological ones.

If the idea of it bugs you, ultimately your only recourse is to not buy the echo. :sunglasses:


(Chris) #8

Lol. I’m not worried because I have nothing to hide. If I were to plan a murder or jewel heist, I’d throw her out…but if they WERE using it for advertising purposes, I’d expect my Amazon Prime membership to be free! Lol


(Chris) #9

Or it could be Facebook…http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2016/05/30/keep-quiet-is-facebook-listening/


(Eric Bergan) #10

Depending on your router, you may also be able to monitor network traffic going out. I can do that, and the Echo doesn’t have enough outbound traffic to be sending everything it could hear. Actually, it’s downloads tend to be much larger - streaming music, new updates, etc.


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #11

Perform a test…

Have your fiance yell for something crazy…

"Honey! I need a giant purple love toy! "

Wait and see what happens!

Could be fun.
Could be creepy.
Could be both fun and creepy!

Lol


(Chris) #12

Good call…If anything, we may get a good price on the purple love toy we wanted!


(DLee) #13

If I could figure out a way to get all my apps, phones, tablets, Echoes to listen to everything we say all the time for ad targeting, my life would be saved. Instead of actually having to listen to what my wife says, I could just rely on the ads to remind me what I’m supposed to pick up from the store on the way home from work. She says I’m not a good listener. Ad targeting to the rescue!


(Chris) #14

The future of preventing divorces…brilliant!


(Larry) #15

I’ve had alexa wake up a few times and say something when I know I didn’t say any word at all that sounded like alexa… same for stuff from tv… So not 100% sure of only waiting for the altert word.