Alexa, shut up!

Published 3:48 pm Friday, January 28, 2022

Just Sayin’

One of the reasons I won’t allow an Amazon Alexa into our home is because the fear of ‘Alexa’ listening in is both valid and alarming. I mean, we all realize we’re under surveillance every time we browse online, right? And if the mic has been left on your phone (or, without wanting to sound paranoid, your television), haven’t we all had a weird moment of deja vu’ when a pop up ad appears about a particular product or thing, or place, we were just talking about a couple of days ago?

 

For me, the creepiest moment was when I accompanied Paul to a bike shop as he wanted some sort of gel support pads for his wrists. I don’t even think we discussed them, or bikes in general, and yet the following day on my laptop, endless ads for these exact pads popped up everywhere. And I don’t have the mic turned on in my phone. Neither does Paul.

 

All this makes it very clear that if you’re worried about microchips being implanted inside your body for tracking purposes, trust your Aunty Pam—you’ve been under surveillance since the dawn of Google and amazon.

 

Now, here’s where it gets really weird. If you have that wench, Alexa, in your home, you actually have the ability to go to amazon and download all the data (go to this link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?asc_campaign=InlineText&asc_refurl=https://lifehacker.com/how-to-download-everything-amazon-knows-about-you-its-1848412242&asc_source=www.fark.com&nodeId=GXPU3YPMBZQRWZK2&tag=lifehackeramzn-20 )  she has on you. You might want to take a deep breath and a shot of something Irish, first. Because once you request to have all your personal data downloaded, Amazon will show you each and every command you have ever given to Alexa including all kinds of things that weren’t commands—background conversations (was it just you or does your mother-in-law happen to criticize everyone’s home decor?), arguments (yes, he really did actually say that your butt looked big in those pants), and, I can assure you, far, far more than you ever imagined. Nice of amazon to give you that shocking amount of data, but then, ain’t nothing you can do about it, so, in their eyes, why not? Nice.

 

Friends of mine that have Alexa say their biggest complaint is that she is forever pushing Apps they might want to try, based on the information she’s stored. After all, she knows exactly what you read, especially e-books, and even knows how many pages you read between time spans. So simply asking her, ‘Alexa, what time is it?’ The correct answer may be immediate, but also followed by three little words that users have come to loathe: “It’s 2:30. By the way, Easter is coming up, would you like to hear ideas for decorating?”

 

Or

 

“Alexa, turn off the upstairs lights.” 

“Done! By the way, would you like to hear about help for snoring?”

 

Or

 

“Alexa, what’s the humidity today?” 

“68%. By the way, would you like to hear about the newest deodorants available?”

 

Those same people that I know that have Alexa have gotten so frustrated that they no longer use her. They’ve unplugged, or tossed her into the landfill. That’s a bit silly, really, and a waste of money.

 

Because when you think about it, she’s the perfect size for skeet shooting.