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Amazon.com introduces 'Echo Dot' spying device that monitors everything you say aloud... would you trust one in your home?


Echo Dot

(NaturalNews) For just $89.99, you can now purchase a device that allows everything you say to be recorded and uploaded to Amazon's servers so that it can "be processed in the Cloud."

That's right – if you like the idea of your conversations being digitized, analyzed and stored by a large corporation, then the new Echo Dot is the right product for you, especially if you're on a budget.

The Echo Dot is a smaller and less expensive version of Amazon's original Echo device, which uses the company's Alexa voice recognition system to perform a number of tasks, such as programming music playlists, answering questions about the weather or providing information on myriad subjects.

The original Echo is cylinder-shaped, roughly the size of two soda cans stacked on top of one another. The Echo Dot is much smaller and delivers less sound quality, but presumably is just as good at eavesdropping as its larger counterpart.

Alexa-equipped devices are touted as being sort of "personal assistants," similar to Apple's Siri app, and can handle a range of commands – meanwhile collecting large amounts of personal information which can be utilized in a number of ways by Amazon (or anyone else who hacks into the system).

From an Amazon FAQ page:

Alexa uses your voice recordings and other information, including from third-party services, to answer your questions, fulfill your requests, and improve your experience and our services. When you set up your Alexa-enabled product or link third-party services with Alexa, Alexa begins processing some information, such as your music playlists. You can also help us improve the voice services by providing feedback within History or by using Voice Training in the Alexa App.

Penetrating the boundary between your home and the outside world

Amazon tries to make it all sound rather innocuous, but they don't reveal exactly what they will do with your information, and that's just one aspect that concerns many privacy advocates.

Writer and programmer Ellen Ullman told The Guardian:

It's going to give you services, and whatever services you get will become data. It's sucked up. It's a huge new profession, data science. Machine learning. It seems benign. But if you add it all up to what they know about you ... they know what you eat.

A digital Trojan horse?

Amazon's Alexa devices are only a part of the so-called "internet of things" revolution. More and more of our home electronic devices, appliances and utility systems are designed to be connected to the internet, creating a scenario in which "the boundary between your home and the outside world is penetrated," as Ullman describes it.

It's true that we already routinely use devices that have the capability of eavesdropping on us. Our smartphones, tablets and laptops have built-in microphones and cameras that can be hacked into and accessed remotely – and unless you've gone to lengths to safeguard your online activity, you're already giving lots of personal information to various corporations and advertisers (not to mention government agencies).

Privacy rights advocates have called for limits on the information that companies can collect and use, but the truth is that our privacy is already being breached on a daily basis. However, that doesn't mean that we should voluntarily give up more of our privacy through the purchasing of devices such as the Echo Dot.

As Natural News contributor J.D. Heyes pointed out:

"Some organizations are on the cutting edge of privacy protection, and one such group is the Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC. The group wants the Federal Trade Commission to formulate regulations that apply strict security standards and cloud-storage limitations on the collection and use of personal information devices like Echo absorb.

"But as we've seen, even regulations aren't enough; our personal data is breached or hacked or sold or exchanged on a regular basis.

"Voluntarily utilizing something like Echo just doesn't make much sense if you're already worried about your privacy."

What do you think about the Echo Dot? Would you want one in your home?

Sources:

Amazon.com

Amazon.com

TheGuardian.com

NaturalNews.com

Science.NaturalNews.com

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