Is the Government Spying Through Alexa?
The New York Times reported on a company that uses software to monitor TV signals, known as Alphonso, to track television viewers. The software was legal because users had consented to it in their terms and conditions. Although Amazon denies listening to Alexa conversations, it does use the voice data from interactions with Alexa to serve targeted ads to users. This type of surveillance could eventually lead to widespread racial discrimination.
While it is unclear how the government could spy through Alexa, there have been other cases where it has been used to track a person’s activities. Among the most controversial cases involved the NSA listening to private conversations. Amazon’s Echo has also been sued over privacy concerns. It has since apologized for the incidents and promised to take action to protect users. However, it is unclear whether this practice will be legal or not.
There are several ways to prevent the government from spying through Alexa. For starters, users can opt-out of the company’s use of their voice recordings. Additionally, they can opt-out of their recordings being used by the company’s developers. Then again, the company does share recordings with 41 advertising partners. And the company also provides opt-out options for users to ensure their privacy. In addition, Alexa is compatible with smart home devices, including smart lights, locks, thermostats, and home security cameras.
The NSA has also been conducting surveillance through this technology. The Voice RT program was developed in 2006 and was used to identify speakers in foreign languages. Its advanced technology also allowed it to sort recorded intercepts by language and gender. Additionally, analysts could search for keywords in real-time and set up automatic alerts. The program was used to turn the voice data of Iraqis into voiceprints. This has led to the discovery of many Al Qaeda training camps around the world.