AMAZON made privacy advocates nervous over the weekend after it vacuumed the maker of the robot vacuum cleaner Roomba.
Experts | have warned that the $1.7 billion acquisition of iRobot will give the e-commerce giant unprecedented access to our homes.
More expensive Roombas collect data as they move, creating a detailed map of each room – including where you place your furniture.
Putting that information in the hands of Amazon — a company with a patchy track record of responsible personal data stewardship — is a potential privacy nightmare.
The company’s other products, including Ring’s smart doorbells and Echo speaker line, collect a lot of data about their users.
Amazon says this data helps it improve its services, while some privacy experts have criticized that the sheer volume of information collected is dangerous.
What Does Your Ring Doorbell or Cam Know About You?
Amazon owns Ring, a doorbell and security camera company that has sold millions of products worldwide.
Mounted on the side of your front door or positioned in your home, they record video and audio to be streamed to your phone.
The gadgets allow you to keep track of your things or belongings even when you are not at home.
This includes any information that you provide yourself, such as name, telephone number, email address and postal address.
Ring products also collect information about your Wi-Fi network and its signal strength, including your network name.
Most worrying, however, are the audio and video files hoarded by the company.
The system doesn’t record all the time, but it can be triggered when it detects movement.
That means Ring products in people’s homes can record you as you walk down the street and send it straight to Amazon.
Speaking to Wired last week, Duke University privacy expert Jolynn Dellinger called Ring a “serious privacy issue.”
“We operate with a sense of ambiguity, even in public,” she said.
“We run the risk of policing everyday life in ways that are not in line with our expectations or what is truly best for society.”
Ring has also sparked controversy for doing business and sharing data with thousands of police departments.
Additionally, it was criticized for falling victim to a series of hacks that allowed cyber crooks to peek into people’s homes.
What Does Your Echo Speaker Know About You?
Amazon’s Echo line of speakers is powered by Alexa, its artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant.
The gadgets have become increasingly popular in recent years and have sold hundreds of millions of them worldwide.
Like Ring products, your Echo knows everything about you that you provide to it, such as: B. Your name and email address.
It also occasionally records audio clips after you say your speaker’s wake word “Alexa.”
As far as we know, Amazon doesn’t use your Alexa to eavesdrop on everything you do.
But there’s one big exception: the company sometimes sends your voice clips to “graders”.
You’ll listen to clips to ensure Alexa is working as intended and improving the system all round.
However, Alexa sometimes picks you up without your knowledge because the AI thought you said her name.
This can result in Alexa recording audio from your home — and you have no idea it’s doing it.
The food news is that you can stop Alexa from recording you and delete the files it has collected by following this guide.
Recordings from Echo devices were previously handed over to police as part of a criminal investigation.
Experts have recommended keeping the devices away from their bedrooms and other private areas.
The best tips and hacks for phones and gadgets
Looking for tips and hacks for your phone? Want to find these secret features in social media apps? We’ve got you covered…
Get the latest news about WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and other tech gadgets here.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science Team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5952630/warning-ring-doorbell-amazon-alexa-owners/ Warning to ALL Ring Doorbell and Amazon Alexa owners – you may be at risk