Amazon Alexa: A Crime Prevention Tool
I wonder if Little Brother's author, Cory Doctorow, ever thought we would be under surveillance in our homes at our own hands? He presents the government as roaming through our neighborhoods tracking us with antennas or through our FastPass systems, but did not see home assistants in his near future work. Recently, Amazon's Alexa has been called as a witness in two murder cases. It is assumed that Alexa was listening the whole time and Amazon is being subpoenaed to provide evidence need to solve the murders (a double homicide in New Hampshire and the one described in the video above).
Once you unbox your new assistant your commands (and conversations) teach its AI to learn and predict your habits, ummmm.... is this something you really want? What about the possibility of being hacked? Does Alexa profile you? Well, of course, it does, so it can report back to its Amazon overlord all your needs and wishes. Remember what Doctorow says, anything you can dream of with computers "must be possible".
After reading Little Brother by Cory Doctorow think about how he highlights the fears of terrorism versus surveillance. Think about how your standards have changed about security, privacy, and surveillance.
How would you balance privacy and public safety?
Are you ready to go out and buy an Amazon Alexa to help you around the house?