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Alexa getting creepy

Discussion in 'Smart Home' started by JAy3001, Jan 2, 2020.

  1. JAy3001

    JAy3001 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    So like many people we have Alexa devices in the home. However when "checking out" on Amazon this evening I noticed the below:

    Screenshot_20200102-183525_Amazon Shopping.jpg
    Clearly related to a search I performed through alexa. This sort of creepy targeted selling should be optional in my option. What do you lot think? Is it any different from doing a web search and then getting targeted ads?
     


  2. riveraadrian

    riveraadrian Member

    Did you say that?
     
  3. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    If it only does it for stuff you actually searched for then it sounds exactly analogous to Google giving you targetted ads for stuff you have searched for previously.

    If it does it for stuff you talk about but don't address to Alexa it's more like Facebook monitoring what you do on non-Facebook sites in order to target ads if you do visit FB.

    The first of those I'm not a fan of, the second I'm very, very much not a fan of. But I would very much hope it wasn't the second, as that could get Amazon in a lot of trouble.
     
  4. JAy3001

    JAy3001 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Well here's the thing. After doing a lot of digging around I flicked through the voice logs between today and the 1st December on the device it would have been activated on and there is no log that I asked that question!

    So maybe there is something going on or maybe it was one of the many, many false activations that you see in the log and it caught part of a conversation?

    I dont use alexa on my phone, however I thought maybe I used the voice search on the amazon app. Possible, but when I click that it requests permission for mic access. I also checked recent viewings in the app and nothing showed up for google products.

    The title suggests "heard from alexa.." she was listening, rather than asked!! :eek:
     
    ocnbrze likes this.
  5. JAy3001

    JAy3001 Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Well, after spending an hour in Amazon chat support I'm none the wiser! They have escalated the issue to the technical team who will respond in 1 to 2 days after reviewing all my voice logs.

    It's probably entirely innocent and something I may have missed in the logs. Either way they might want to rephrase that little message.

    Is anyone else seeing a similar message on their cart screens, just before proceeding with payment and delivery options?
     
    ocnbrze likes this.
  6. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Conceivably it could be like those suggestions based on other people's shopping, just badly labelled to look like it's from you.

    It would be stupid to do something like that which could undermine trust, especially after other controversies about what these companies listen to. But "tech company being too arrogant/self-absorbed to consider how things might look to anyone else" would not be an entirely new story.. .
     
    MrJavi and JAy3001 like this.
  7. Ray Sosher

    Ray Sosher Newbie

    This is beyond advertising. They are taking it too far. Now a days we cannot even open a game or app for advertisements. When using youtube I always have to swipe left the upper apps. This is very upsetting. Every app, even the famous ones who are already making huge money other ways are getting sold by add makers. Why?, cant one app company stay firm?, come on.
     
  8. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    sorry, but everyone should be aware of this when buying an amazon device or a google home device.....of course they are going to keep track of what you are searching or buying thru their products. i have two nest mini's that i use, one in my bedroom and one in the living room. i'm getting a free one....i think it was some kind of youtube promotion or something. i will probably put that one on my patio for some outdoor music or when i'm chilling on my porch with a nice bourbon and cigar, i can chill with some music or have an audio book playing.

    if you are concerned about such....then do not get these devices. i disagree that it should be an option. its their device and as long as you are aware of what the device does, i do not see why there should be an option. there are plenty of other bluetooth devices you can get that will play music and such.
     
    MrJavi likes this.
  9. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    I almost never see ads on my phone. Of course I use paid apps for most things, and deliberately shun ad-heavy apps. That's my preference.

    I don't have any voice assistant devices, also through choice. I was given a Home Mini when I bought my phone through a promotion: I actually contacted the vendor and asked them not to include it, but that seemed to be too complicated for their systems to cope with. I gave it away to a local sports club to use as a raffle prize. As @ocnbrze says there are plenty of wireless speakers if that's what you want, and if you want a voice search device as things currently stand you'll have to put up with the tracking (of course some of them have also been recording more than they let on, and you have to take on trust that the companies have actually addressed that, but that's also your choice).

    You could of course create "burner" accounts for individual devices, so that they can't connect up the data, e.g. an Amazon account only used for Alexa, and a different one for actual shopping, a Google account only for Google Home and separate from your phone. If you use a computer rather than a phone there are a wider and deeper range of techniques available (on this laptop any Google or Facebook site I open is placed in a sandboxed tab with no communication with the rest of my browsing, cookie data etc. They can track what I do on their site, but I see no reason they should have access to anything else).
     
    PitCarver and ocnbrze like this.
  10. RASelkirk

    RASelkirk Well-Known Member

    Sorry, Alexa = trashcan. If you have any sense of privacy, you'll toss any type of nanny/monitoring device immediately.

    Russ
     
  11. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    to each their own. i really like my google nest mini. i just saw a news article here in AF about a smart fan that is google assistant ready.....i'm thinking about getting one.
     
  12. RASelkirk

    RASelkirk Well-Known Member

    Yup, that's the beauty of our world (as it stands for for now).

    I'm the guy that tapes over the camera when opening a new computer and reformats it on first boot-up. I didn't get to 67 years by being careless with the intrusiveness of our modern society...

    Russ
     
    ocnbrze likes this.
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