Amazon's Alexa for Landlords Is a Privacy Nightmare Waiting to Happen

You know that clip of Steve Carell from The Office where he’s shouting “No, God! No, God, please no! No! No! Nooooooooo!” That’s how I feel about Amazon’s announcement that it’s adding a new service to Alexa for It’s called Alexa for Residential that, according to Amazon, “makes it easy for property managers to set up and manage Alexa-powered smart home experiences throughout their buildings.”

Curated via Twitter from Gizmodo’s twitter account….

Property managers or smart home integrators cannot use Drop In,” the Amazon spokesperson said in an email. “Drop In will only work if a resident links their in-unit device to their Amazon account, once they’ve linked their account, they’ll be able to use all the features Alexa has to offer, including drop in for contacts who have granted permission.

Amazon says that property managers will not “have access to any customer data” and “voice recordings are automatically deleted daily. ” Residents will also be able to connect their personal Amazon account to the device and control their privacy settings.

When we reached out to Amazon for further clarity on the Drop In feature, a spokesperson brushed aside the concerns, saying there are safeguards in place and implied that this potential privacy-invading feature is entirely in a tenant’s control. “Alexa communications features like Drop In do not work when a device is in vacant or occupied mode.

This is all on top of the fact that the entire smart-speaker-that-comes-with-your-rental phenomenon is still strange to me for a few reasons; Amazon cites a study by the National Apartment Association, which says “84% of renters want an apartment with smart home amenities,” and “61% of whom said they would pay a monthly fee for a voice assistant” as part of its justification for offering its new Alexa for Residential service.

Link to original article….

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