As an avid user and proponent of Amazon’s “Alexa,” I was especially curious to hear about current security issues surrounding the use of this virtual assistant device. In an episode of their podcast series “The Shared Security” — which focuses on concerns revolving on the idea that security is now shared among people, technology, and social media — Tom Eston and Scott Wright discussed current issues facing Amazon’s Echo device.
One major concern included the fact that the Echo device can even be triggered by someone saying “Alexa” on television. For example, a television segment that said the words “Alexa, buy me a doll house” resulted in doll houses being placed in the shopping carts of many viewers’ Amazon accounts due to their Alexa overhearing the statement. A second major issue revolved around a recent murder case in which an Echo was searched for audio recordings that may have been triggered in the murder. This raises difficult ethical and legal questions surrounding the use of all smart devices, not only Amazon Echos — should smart devices, such as water faucets, and virtual assistants be able to serve as evidence in criminal cases?