I was one of the first Echo customers back in '14 when they rolled them out. I get the thought of it being a wiretap, but then, so many of the apps on our devices are data mining constantly as well. The thought of a microphone rather than a little piece of software somehow makes it feel ‘worse’. In reality, with these things being headless, nothing is stored locally, other than WiFi credentials and the cloud destination. When in the normal operating mode, it is ‘listening’ all the time (unless you mute it) but it is not recording. Only when the wake word is spoken is data recorded and sent to the cloud for interpretation. In that respect, no, Amazon is not simply hitting the record button on our lives, with some drooling dweeb in the cloud wearing headphones cherry picking goodies to wank off to. Using Siri for example is the same thing, only you press a button to initiate rather than speaking a wake word. And don’t forget… many apps require ‘permission’ to access the camera and microphone on your phone, so how do you know they are not surreptitiously listening in or recording video whenever they feel like it?
I’ve found our small Echo farm to be quite useful. From streaming music, to verbalizing requests and responses, using it as an intercom system, alarm, and of course smart home automation, I’ve enjoyed having it around. It’s easy. Sure, I make the Amazon People happy by giving them marketing nuggets, which is their primary target, but I dig all the Jetson’s stuff I can do. Today’s convenience comes with a price.
Well, that hardly solves your problem, Sparks. Sorry.