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Amazon’s Alexa could start listening to everything you say.

Amazon has admitted it’s considering eavesdropping on every conversation you have using Alexa speakers — or even your smartphone. The terrifying concept suggests a future where products and services could be advertised to you based on things you say out loud. Right now, the speaker only listens to what you say if you utter the...
Time: 15:23     Date: 12.04.2018
World Tech News: Amazon’s Alexa could start listening to everything you say. NY Post 24 - US News

The terrifying concept suggests a future where products and services could be advertised to you based on things you say out loud.

Right now, the speaker only listens to what you say if you utter the “wake word,” Alexa.

But an Amazon patent suggests that might not always be the case – what if Alexa was always listening?

The patent, which was filed in June last year, suggests the idea of eavesdropping in on your phone conversations.

Or using smart devices to listen to what you say.

“A smartphone or tablet computer can actively listen to audio data for a user, such as may be monitored during a phone call or recorded when a user is within a detectable distance of the device,” the patent reads.

It then goes on: “If a user mentions a desire to travel to Paris while on a call, a recommendation for a book about Paris or an advertisement for travel site might be presented at the end of the call.”

Another line suggests snooping on your phone conversations to listen for mentions of a restaurant.

“A recommendation might be sent while the user is still engaged in the conversation that enables the user to make a reservation at the restaurant, or provides a coupon or dining offer for that restaurant during the call,” Amazon explains.

The idea is to hook you while you’re in a spending mindset – rather than letting you forget about making a booking or purchase.

“Providing such information after the call might be too late if the user makes other plans during the conversation,” the patent reads.

But it gets even scarier.

“In either case, the information can be stored for use in subsequent recommendations,” says Amazon.

Yes, Amazon is considering storing info about your private phone conversations so it can target you with ads later on.

Of course, it’s worth noting that a patent isn’t a statement of intent.

There’s no guarantee Amazon will ever let the technologies described see the light of day.

Amazon is simply laying its claim to the idea before anyone else can.

But it does mean that Amazon employees have conjured up this Orwellian idea – and that may be worrying enough for some users.

In a statement, Amazon said: “Like many companies, we file a number of forward-looking patent applications that explore the full possibilities of new technology.

“Patents take multiple years to receive and do not necessarily reflect current developments to product and services.”

It added: “We do not use customers’ voice recordings for targeted advertising.”

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