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Amazon Echo Spot Raises Privacy Concerns

The new Amazon display smart speaker, Amazon Echo Dot has been causing concern over privacy as the company is eager for users to place the camera embedded device in their bedrooms.

It is was recently released in the UK, Germany and Austria after being launched in the US last month.

Amazon is encouraging the Echo Dot to be in the bedroom as it says in its press release, “The size and viewing angle of the screen make Echo Spot ideal for use on a nightstand or desk as a smart alarm clock that can also turn your lights on and off, watch a video flash briefing, show your commute time, get the weather, or show your calendar.”

As The Verge points out, ” It’s more than just an alarm clock, but Amazon is definitely pushing this as a $130 device that will sit next to your bed. Promotional materials show it sitting on nightstands, providing a selection of clock faces and news / weather information. The privacy concerns are obvious: an always-listening (for a keyword) microphone in your bedroom, and a camera pointing at your bed.”

British security researcher Mark Barnes was able to hack into 2015 and 2016 Amazon Echos and turn them into live microphones, a bit concerning for smart speaker enthusiasts.

Echo Spot features second generation far-field technology with four microphones, acoustic beam-forming technology, and enhanced noise cancellation so it can hear you from across the room—even while music is playing.

With the Echo Spot you’re able to call others in the home via the device, you can also start a video chat by asking “Alexa, call mum” or “Alexa, send a message to dad”. Like the other Alexa devices, you are able to hear and speak to Alexa, play music via bluetooth and can link the smart speaker to other electronic devices.

The Echo Spot was unveiled in September last year and released to the US market last month. No word on when it will be released in Australia but the Echo Dot, Echo and Echo Plus were quietly launched last week so it probably won’t be long before the Echo Spot makes it way down to our shores.

It is selling for US$129.99.

 

 

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