Shocking: Amazon Workers Are Listening to What You Tell Alexa

Dullard

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They have these buttons on top that mute the microphone....

So how does a voice activated device work with the mic muted? **Slaps Alexa around a bit until she replies**

Meh, we are already carrying around listening devices on us every day. Unless you don't use a smartphone, this horse left the barn a long time ago.

No smart phone, no cell phone. Still have a landline, but it has a blocker on it that works like a charm.

That is what's scary. People of all race, sex, rich, poor, haves and have nots are getting busted for what they say these days. It is getting to the point where you cannot say anything or have an opinion on anything in private or else your job, career, scholarship, endorsements, ect. may be lost. Just wait till it is more common practice to hack Alexa and the like and people cannot even hold private conversations for fear of being blackmailed for the information.

Look at the politicians who have stepped down over something "racist" they said when they were young. And technology was hardly what it is today 20 years ago.......

Not only that, on the FBI/NSA/Government side of it, what about privacy? Are we not allowed to have privacy? Some argue if you are doing something illegal you should be in trouble. Imagine the users on this forum talking privately about whatever it may be and the Feds listen in and find out about the illegal activity. Next thing you know, they are pulling evidence out of their ass to obtain a search warrant and you are busted...... And for what? That bump stock you said got dumped in the lake? Something so simple can ruin peoples lives.

That's what my luck would be. Talking about some politician/public figure and I blurt out something about bodily harm. Then the SWAT team kicks in my door, confiscates my guns, etc.

Yeah, yeah - tinfoil hat, right? Wanna bet me a roll of tinfoil it never happens to somebody?
 
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Oldmodder

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If i ever tell Alexa something it will be "go f... yourself"
When i can get my devise to trigger by saying "listen up bitch" then maybe then i will use that stuff.
OK Google are just the lamest idea.
 

sfsuphysics

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Next they'll admit "well ok it really does record EVERYTHING that is said because we really don't have any magical way of knowing when 'Alexa' is queried unless it's always listening, but we totally don't save any of the stuff that's said we're super cereal"
 

NickJames

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Right, and everyone in government denied that the NSA was building a huge data center in the mid west to log all phone conversations. Tinfoil hat stuff right? Until it turned out to be true. Now things like Alexia, Suri, etc are becoming all to common place; home appliances, like a toaster. Meh, no big deal.
But how easily could comments you make in private become public or get to the ears of someone you don't want to hear them; like your employer.

I mean if my employer manage to subpoena Amazon for Alexa voice logs relating to some conspiracy or corporate espionage then I must've really fucked up.
 

Shadow_Foxx

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Yeaaaa, anyone who thought this wasnt happening is a dimwit. These things are definitely not my cup of tea, I dont ever plan to own one.

Yes, I am one of those people who tapes over every camera in the house.
 

NKD

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In a news that shouldn't surprise anyone, Amazon has admitted that employees review "small sample" of Alexa audio.



Of course, Amzn is not alone in this


And that's just the big guys. So, go ahead and buy MORE Telescreens* for you house.

The contents of Bloomberg's article shouldn't surprise anyone, nor should anyone panic. At least someone is listening to what some of us have to say. So what if it's an corporation free of any morals.

* May not be called that way in your region.

OMG SO BIIIIIGGG. LOL. No shit they do this, no one should be surprised.
 

Brian_B

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I actually expect that they listen in. It's half the reason I walk around making random fart noises.
 

Darunion

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I had mine set for "computer" so the trek nerd in me could come out to play. Until I realized how often that word is said both in the family and tv/movies i just couldnt deal with "sorry I do not know the answer to that" anymore.
 

Dr. Righteous

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I mean if my employer manage to subpoena Amazon for Alexa voice logs relating to some conspiracy or corporate espionage then I must've really fucked up.
It never works that way. Your employer will anonymously receive recordings of your conversations. You only crime will be not participating in the group think in the culture. WHY would this happen? Suppose you were a conservative blogger that had a big following. You would be targeted. Seeking to harm you they would level a bunch of non sense accusations. Crazy? Have you have kissed a girl at a party? Then you are a predator preying on young women. How can your boss keep a sexual deviant on their payroll? A lot of companies just want the issue to go away be it right or not; it is pretty easy just to cut someone from their payroll. This is how it works. What is your recourse? Who do you bring a slander suit against? These are shadow groups that are trying to kill free speech, capitalism, and freedom. You don't know their name.
 

Zareek

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I don't have anything to hide so why the hell should I care if someone is listening. The worst thing they will hear is my wife and I having sex. Maybe some rumbling farts in bed at night. I can understand why businesses wouldn't want their strategies and product developments listened to. I just don't understand why people care if they have nothing to be ashamed of! I guess I might be irritated if I found out they used that information to do even more advertising directed at me. I'm soooooo sick of advertising and telemarketers.
 

Dr. Righteous

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I don't have anything to hide so why the hell should I care if someone is listening. The worst thing they will hear is my wife and I having sex. Maybe some rumbling farts in bed at night. I can understand why businesses wouldn't want their strategies and product developments listened to. I just don't understand why people care if they have nothing to be ashamed of! I guess I might be irritated if I found out they used that information to do even more advertising directed at me. I'm soooooo sick of advertising and telemarketers.

This what I find most disturbing. It is not the fact you have something to hide. That has nothing to do with it. The fact is you have RIGHTS against illegal search and seizure and illegal surveillance.
This idea that if you are against surveillance, you are hiding something thus possible criminal actions or intent is ridiculous.

Also the idea we have "nothing to hide" is also ridiculous. We ALL hold things as very personal we don't want everyone's eyes on. How would you feel if naked pix of you were circulated among your coworkers. Jokes aside; this is a blow to your personal privacy.
 
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NickJames

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This what I find most disturbing. It is not the fact you have something to hide. That has nothing to do with it. The fact is you have RIGHTS against illegal search and seizure and illegal surveillance.
This idea that if you are against surveillance, you are hiding something thus possible criminal actions or intent is ridiculous.

Also the idea we have "nothing to hide" is also ridiculous. We ALL hold things as very personal we don't want everyone's eyes on. How would you feel if naked pix of you were circulated among your coworkers. Jokes aside; this is a blow to your personal privacy.

But you're still under the assumption that this is a thing that happens/will happen. Until I see an actual case of someone being blackmailed/imprisoned over Alexa voice logs I'll keep my paranoia to a minimum.
 

Nenu

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But you're still under the assumption that this is a thing that happens/will happen. Until I see an actual case of someone being blackmailed/imprisoned over Alexa voice logs I'll keep my paranoia to a minimum.
You dont get the reason we have those rights.
Its so they can be enforced to prevent it happening, with a penalty to those that do or allow it.
If you can see it coming, its sensible to step out of harms way, not let it hit you full in the face.
That applies to both sides.
 

Grimlaking

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So how does a voice activated device work with the mic muted? **Slaps Alexa around a bit until she replies**



No smart phone, no cell phone. Still have a landline, but it has a blocker on it that works like a charm.



That's what my luck would be. Talking about some politician/public figure and I blurt out something about bodily harm. Then the SWAT team kicks in my door, confiscates my guns, etc.

Yeah, yeah - tinfoil hat, right? Wanna bet me a roll of tinfoil it never happens to somebody?

I cry foul you sir are an imposter! I doubt your T-80 and Tubes have finished warming up to even display this forum let alone your system has finished downloading the 300kb that represent this page on your 300 baud cradle modem that you use with your wired line.
 

Dr. Righteous

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But you're still under the assumption that this is a thing that happens/will happen. Until I see an actual case of someone being blackmailed/imprisoned over Alexa voice logs I'll keep my paranoia to a minimum.

Lets try this exercise.

You get home one day and lay your laptop case down on the coffee table. You take a deep breath and rub your forehead; its been a long day and your tired. Your hand moves down and loosen your tie and unbutton your collar. You aim for the corner couch to relax for a few minutes. You have things to do but you are just glad to take a load off. The room is a bit dark so you hand moves around to find the knob to turn the lamp that sits on the end table. "click". "Click". No light. The bulb must be blown. "Ah, what the hell; I'll deal with that later." you think to yourself. You put your feet up and lean your head back and and take a moment to relax. As the daily stress slowly flees your relaxed body you start to close your eyes. But out of the corner of your eye you notice something. There is something stuck in the lamp shade. Fiddling with the lamp to turn it on you rotated it on the table and you see the back side of the lamp shade you normally don't see. "What is that?" you think to yourself. The short list of plausible explanations is quickly exhausted so you get up from your comfy spot and turn the overhead lights on. The foreign object is still hard to see so you remove the lamp shade and carry it into the kitchen and flip the lights on over the kitchen island. It is a small white plastic package the size of a nickle. You clamp your fingers on it and pull it off of the lamp shade. It was stuck with double sided tape it seems. Under the bright light you examine it closely. It is completely sealed and with no markings or recognizable features except for a small round opening on one side the size of a pencil point. You know what it is now. No question. It is a bug. A listening device. You notice on the top edge of it there is a little bit of dust. It has been there for a while. You have been bugged. Someone has been listening to what you have been saying for a unknown amount of time. Why? This makes no sense at all. Why would so someone want to bug you? You confess to yourself "I'm a nobody! What the hell is going on?" Slowly your perplexed expression changes as your furrowed brow and clenched jaw expresses our anger. You feel violated and say to yourself "Whoever had done has no right! But who did this and why me? This makes no sense!" Finding your way back to the couch you sit in a pensive posture. Your mind rolls out possible explanation and the most plausible you verbalize to yourself "This has to be a case of mistaken identity. But how many John Smiths can there be in the world? "
 
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NickJames

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You dont get the reason we have those rights.
Its so they can be enforced to prevent it happening, with a penalty to those that do or allow it.
If you can see it coming, its sensible to step out of harms way, not let it hit you full in the face.
That applies to both sides.

So because we have the right to privacy we should instead decide to neuter ourselves of technology? Nah that's not a compromise. It's up to the individual to make the choice if they want to have the tech in their household or not. You can live with your paranoia of government bugs, mean time I'll keep telling Alexa to turn off the lights or play some soothing rain sounds while I sleep knowing the Illuminati is monitoring my sleep apnea.

Lets try this exercise.

You get home one day and lay your laptop case down on the coffee table. You take a deep breath and rub your forehead; its been a long day and your tired. Your hand moves down and loosen your tie and unbutton your collar. You aim for the corner couch to relax for a few minutes. You have things to do but you are just glad to take a load off. The room is a bit dark so you hand moves around to find the knob to turn the lamp that sits on the end table. "click". "Click". No light. The bulb must be blown. "Ah, what the hell; I'll deal with that later." you think to yourself. You put your feet up and lean your head back and and take a moment to relax. As the daily stress slowly flees your relaxed body you start to close your eyes. But out of the corner of your eye you notice something. There is something stuck in the lamp shade. Fiddling with the lamp to turn it on you rotated it on the table and you see the back side of the lamp shade you normally don't see. "What is that?" you think to yourself. The short list of plausible explanations is quickly exhausted so you get up from your comfy spot and turn the overhead lights on. The foreign object is still hard to see so you remove the lamp shade and carry it into the kitchen and flip the lights on over the kitchen island. It is a small white plastic package the size of a nickle. You clamp your fingers on it and pull it off of the lamp shade. It was stuck with double sided tape it seems. Under the bright light you examine it closely. It is completely sealed and with no markings or recognizable features except for a small round opening on one side the size of a pencil point. You know what it is now. No question. It is a bug. A listening device. You notice on the top edge of it there is a little bit of dust. It has been there for a while. You have been bugged. Someone has been listening to what you have been saying for a unknown amount of time. Why? This makes no sense at all. Why would so someone want to bug you? You confess to yourself "I'm a nobody! What the hell is going on?" Slowly your perplexed expression changes as your furrowed brow and clenched jaw expresses our anger. You feel violated and say to yourself "Whoever had done has no right! But who did this and why me? This makes no sense!" Finding your way back to the couch you sit in a pensive posture. You mind rolls out possible explanation and the most plausible you verbalize to yourself "This has to be a case of mistaken identity. But how many John Smiths can there be in the world? "

Again, this is still a hypothetical scenario you're crafting, a hyperbolic one at that. I bought my Alexa for a purpose, to turn my lights on and off, to tell me measurements while I am cooking, to play music, etc.. I don't see any adverse consequences happening in my lifetime but if it does then I stand corrected and will eat my words.
 

Nenu

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So because we have the right to privacy we should instead decide to neuter ourselves of technology? Nah that's not a compromise. It's up to the individual to make the choice if they want to have the tech in their household or not. You can live with your paranoia of government bugs, mean time I'll keep telling Alexa to turn off the lights or play some soothing rain sounds while I sleep knowing the Illuminati is monitoring my sleep apnea.
Where did I say that?
 

Jagger100

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So how does a voice activated device work with the mic muted? **Slaps Alexa around a bit until she replies**
It doesn't. That's the point. Although if I had to guess, it's a soft Mute so it may not really cut the Mic.

the Unit doesn't listen back to the Mothership until you trigger the Wake Word. Which is why there are only 5 wake words. It doesn't have processing power to understand language without the mothership connection. Custom wake words is the #1 Alexa request and this has not been addressed. The limitation is real.

Now a skill or (App on Alexa) was caught prolonging the listening period. It was removed and future potential abusers are screened for their skill library (app store).

Also until someone produces a "wiretap" stream showing that it's streaming sound back to the mothership without the wake word or bad app, I'm not going to believe it.

Any more likely than I believe the 3 different forms of connecting to the mothership your phone has, isn't a bigger threat. You phone's phone can be listening ask the Mob. The 90's they busted Mob kingpins by remotely turning on their phones in a non-obvious way. Your smart phone also has Data and Wi-Fi to update the mothership. People have wiretapped phone's network connections and the constant stream back to multiple different motherships is indecipherable. So there's no way to tell what is being transmitted and exactly to who. Add-in the fact your phone has your location by neighboring access points alone and your browsing habits.
 

Grimlaking

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It doesn't. That's the point. Although if I had to guess, it's a soft Mute so it may not really cut the Mic.

the Unit doesn't listen back to the Mothership until you trigger the Wake Word. Which is why there are only 5 wake words. It doesn't have processing power to understand language without the mothership connection. Custom wake words is the #1 Alexa request and this has not been addressed. The limitation is real.

Now a skill or (App on Alexa) was caught prolonging the listening period. It was removed and future potential abusers are screened for their skill library (app store).

Also until someone produces a "wiretap" stream showing that it's streaming sound back to the mothership without the wake word or bad app, I'm not going to believe it.

Any more likely than I believe the 3 different forms of connecting to the mothership your phone has, isn't a bigger threat. You phone's phone can be listening ask the Mob. The 90's they busted Mob kingpins by remotely turning on their phones in a non-obvious way. Your smart phone also has Data and Wi-Fi to update the mothership. People have wiretapped phone's network connections and the constant stream back to multiple different motherships is indecipherable. So there's no way to tell what is being transmitted and exactly to who. Add-in the fact your phone has your location by neighboring access points alone and your browsing habits.


I know for a fact Alexa will stream every sound in your home back to the mothership. Watch tv for advertisements coming soon. (I believe this will only be with a specific skill.)
 

sadsteve

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I cry foul you sir are an imposter! I doubt your T-80 and Tubes have finished warming up to even display this forum let alone your system has finished downloading the 300kb that represent this page on your 300 baud cradle modem that you use with your wired line.

I don't know, I believe him. The only reason I have a smart phone vs a flip phone is that I wanted a good scientific/programmers calculator app. I have my cellular data and wifi disabled on the phone since I have computers at home to do my interneting and I use a pay-as-you-go plan (only pay about $70 a year for my service). Anyway, who really wants to peruse the internet on a 4.3 inch screen.
 

Darunion

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I know for a fact Alexa will stream every sound in your home back to the mothership. Watch tv for advertisements coming soon. (I believe this will only be with a specific skill.)

No one is home right now, this is 3 dots and an echo reporting home. I assume right now they are just feeding back outdoor sounds with the windows open. But yea there is always a data stream.
 

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NickJames

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No one is home right now, this is 3 dots and an echo reporting home. I assume right now they are just feeding back outdoor sounds with the windows open. But yea there is always a data stream.

You can actually listen to your recordings on the app but AFAIK it doesn't archive/save unless it hears the wake word.
https://alexa.amazon.com/spa/index.html#settings/dialogs

Making things up doesnt help your case.

Uh what case? These are all my opinions, sorry that I misinterpreted your analogies but maybe you should rephrase yourself better.
 

Dr. Righteous

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Again, this is still a hypothetical scenario you're crafting, a hyperbolic one at that. I bought my Alexa for a purpose, to turn my lights on and off, to tell me measurements while I am cooking, to play music, etc.. I don't see any adverse consequences happening in my lifetime but if it does then I stand corrected and will eat my words.

You missed the point of the exercise.
John Smith had no idea he was being spied upon, yet he was. He was righteously indignant. You have a surveillance device in your home and are OK with it. You can forget about your expectation of privacy.
 

NickJames

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You missed the point of the exercise.
John Smith had no idea he was being spied upon, yet he was. He was righteously indignant. You have a surveillance device in your home and are OK with it. You can forget about your expectation of privacy.

I don't have any expectation of privacy, I threw that out years ago. I understand not everyone feels like I do but I don't agree about all the bad flak these devices get as if they should be banned from all homes. You're free to live your life as you see fit and I mine.
 

Dr. Righteous

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I don't have any expectation of privacy, I threw that out years ago. I understand not everyone feels like I do but I don't agree about all the bad flak these devices get as if they should be banned from all homes. You're free to live your life as you see fit and I mine.

I do maintain a great expectation of privacy in my personal life. I and say and do things that many will find offensive and objectionable. Like, I go to church regularly and believe the bible is the word of God. And I discuss politics regularly and once was involved in a right wing political organization that sought to influence fiscal policy of the state. To certain groups those are dangerous views thus I'm a dangerous person and likely a white supremacist, homophobic, etc, etc, etc.
 

NickJames

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I do maintain a great expectation of privacy in my personal life. I and say and do things that many will find offensive and objectionable.

Trust me, I live that edge lol but I just don't fear consequence anymore. I've lived a life of fear of big brother watching but one day I just decided to stop caring and am much happier for it. Granted the day I get fired would probably be one of the worse days of my life but I'll tackle that issue when and if it comes. For now I'll enjoy blissful ignorance.
 

Dr. Righteous

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Trust me, I live that edge lol but I just don't fear consequence anymore. I've lived a life of fear of big brother watching but one day I just decided to stop caring and am much happier for it. Granted the day I get fired would probably be one of the worse days of my life but I'll tackle that issue when and if it comes. For now I'll enjoy blissful ignorance.

Did I mention guns? We have more guns than 8th Army. LOL!!
 

gdonovan

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No one is home right now, this is 3 dots and an echo reporting home. I assume right now they are just feeding back outdoor sounds with the windows open. But yea there is always a data stream.

I thought this was well known, huh.
 
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TordanGow

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I'll sum this up as succinctly as I can: If information CAN be used, it WILL be misused.

Ignore at your own peril.
 

Hagrid

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Proven right, again.

Nothing with a mic connected to a network is allowed in my house, period.

If they can spy on you they will.
Do you take the battery out of your phones before entering the house?
 
D

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"the audio is distorted"

Bullshit, how do you train a software based on voice recognition with distorted audio.

The audio is distorted for the people listening to the audio, not for the software that's learning from it.

Why is this a surprise to anyone? How else are they going to improve the voice recognition software if they don't know if the software is interpreting what is being said correctly?

Come on people...
 

gdonovan

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Do you take the battery out of your phones before entering the house?

As I pointed out a few posts prior, phones stay out in the mud porch when we get home.

And yes, it is very easy living without a phone constantly clamoring for my attention.

I get enough of that at work and the silence is glorious.
 

M76

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The audio is distorted for the people listening to the audio, not for the software that's learning from it.

Why is this a surprise to anyone? How else are they going to improve the voice recognition software if they don't know if the software is interpreting what is being said correctly?

Come on people...
Using actual customer data is a shortcut. Use your own employees voice, or pay people to participate in public testing. Using customer data without them opting in is unacceptable.
 
D

Deleted member 88227

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Using actual customer data is a shortcut. Use your own employees voice, or pay people to participate in public testing. Using customer data without them opting in is unacceptable.

Everyone has a unique voice and gathering data from your vast collection of customers is by far more effective than hiring people. Additionally, steps are taken to conceal the identity of the individuals so it's no different than hearing someone talking anywhere in a crowd or otherwise.

No one's privacy is broken. No one. People just want to gather pitch forks for anything and everything these days.
 
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