Alexa Privacy Concerns: Is That Really Concerning? – THE WEEK
Alexa is a voice-automated assistant from Amazon. Users love throwing commands at the speaker’s voice to get things done at home. For example, you get information about the weather or book your favourite meal with just a few instructions to Alexa.
However, with the use of Alexa in many homes, the million-dollar question arises. Is Alexa spying on you? Do users have to worry about the privacy issues related to the use of Alexa?
Yes, there are certain Alexa privacy concerns that need some actions from the users. Let’s get started on the possible risks while using Alexa and the ways to mitigate them.
What Are Some Alexa Privacy Risks?
Since Alexa has access to your personal details like address, phone number, etc chances of this data leaking is high with the presence of third-party skills or apps in the picture.
Also, Alexa needs to be plugged in to start working. Hence, the possible threats emerge as people always keep such devices ON to decrease the work of repeatedly switching ON when needed.
Let’s look at some of the problems users can face while using Alexa:
1. Recording Conversations
Alexa has the capacity to start saving the requests you make even when you don’t utter the wake-up word. The possibility in these cases is that some of the words spoken by you at home might interpret Alexa like keywords. Hence, without your knowledge, it could have recorded many important conversations going around you.
Also, many examples from all over the internet claim that Alexa has shared all this sensitive information with many without the user’s consent. A probable glitch is a reason or again your language misguided Alexa.
Moreover, Amazon admitted that their employees listen to small clippings of conversations to help improve the understandability of Alexa in various countries. Thus, the chances of these conversations leaking to ad agencies are high as it contains our favourite meals, most-watched videos, downloaded TV shows, etc.
While these threats loom large, you cannot walk around with peace or hold important discussions at home regarding your office or personal things. Hence, caution is essential when using voice assistant devices.
2. Third-Party Apps
Third-party apps or Skills in the language of Alexa are how you get your favours done.
For example, if you ask Alexa to book an Uber for you, the assistant should share your address with Uber to bring the cab home. However, Amazon assures that all the personal information sharing with Skills does not happen without your knowledge or acceptance.
However, hackers are always around the corner. They can access your information from those third-party apps easily. Or, break into Alexa to gather sensitive details like your bank account information. These are a few examples that hackers target with smart devices all around the corner of our homes.
3. Connection With Smart Home Gadgets
Most homes enjoy the company of smart gadgets. Some of the most popular include smart lighting systems, smart security locks, etc. Also, when these home automated smart devices are in connection with Alexa, your data becomes more vulnerable.
For example, if you command Alexa to lock the door after you enter, you must feed the security lock number to Alexa’s memory. So, if hackers got hold of this information, your house is no longer safer from outside attacks.