Alexa

Report: Amazon Uses Alexa Voice Data to Target Users with Ads

A recent report claims that Amazon uses voice data from its Echo home assistant devices to target ads on both its own platforms and the web. Researchers created fake personas with different interests and then tracked how the data fed to Amazon spread around the internet. According to the researchers, they found “strong evidence that smart-speaker interactions are used for the purpose of targeting ads, and that this ad targeting implies significant data sharing across multiple parties.”

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos during the JFK Space Summit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Amazon’s Alexa Poses Deadly ‘Challenge’ to 10-Year-Old Girl: Stick Metal in a Power Outlet

An owner of an Amazon Alexa home assistant is claiming that the device issued a sick challenge to her 10-year-old daughter. In a video posted online, when the Amazon device was asked for a “challenge,” Alexa replied: “The challenge is simple: plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs,” tempting the child to electrocute herself.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos during the JFK Space Summit at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston, Wednesday, June 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Amazon Joins Your Alexa Devices Together with Your Neighbors in a ‘Shared Network’ HIvemind

E-commerce giant Amazon is facing a privacy backlash over its new “Sidewalk” feature which joins together Alexa-powered smart devices within your home with those belonging to neighbors. The company claims the “shared network” will help “devices work better.” One cybersecurity expert called Amazon’s new service “deeply problematic from a privacy perspective,” noting that “No one rides on my WiFi for free, especially a giant corporation with billions of dollars.”

Jeff Bezos arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Virgil: The New Frankensteins 

As he scans the news about tech abuses—from violating privacy, to manipulating the news, to mowing down pedestrians with driverless cars—Virgil is reminded that this year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, Frankenstein.  

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