Don't Buy Anyone an Echo

mikefamig

Senior Member
upstatemike said:
Actually this conversation has made me realize what malevolent devices cell phones are and is forcing me to rethink my communications strategy. While Alexa represents a potential security threat with no actual examples yet reported, Cell Phone microphones are known to be exploited on a regular basis both by the NSA and by criminal parties using tools acquired from the dark web. Additionally cell phones are carried on your person and are more likely to be in range of a sensitive conversation than is an Echo sitting in a specific room. You are also not likely to go around reciting your social security number or credit card numbers out loud for Alexa to hear but that data often finds its way into cell phone apps where it can be easily harvested. Cell phones are also starting to experience more telemarketing calls and phone fraud which you don't see within the phone functionality of Alexa.
 
So my new strategy is this: Over the course of the next year I am going to give Echos as gifts at every opportunity to family and friends and encourage them to communicate with me using the Echo phone features rather than traditional phone lines. Around this time next year I am going to discontinue all cell phone service and make Alexa the only way a person can reach me. This is no hardship for me making outbound calls since Alexa can call any phone number but nobody can call me unless they use Alexa and by then all of the people I care to hear from will have one due to my year of  gifting them. I'm happy to tell any business or other entity who might wish to reach me to get Alexa or get lost so I'm not concerned about that. At this point Alexa is clearly near the bottom of the list of technologies that could potentially be used to harm me so it makes sense to ditch the already compromised platforms and start using something less dangerous.
 
This sounded to me like an interesting plan as I read it until I got to the "get Alexa or get lost" part. Good luck with that.
 
Mike.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Depends on how much access you want to give people beyond your circle of family and friends to call you whenever they want. My experience is that nothing good ever comes from unsolicited calls from strangers so I am happy to adopt a "don't call me I'll call you" attitude with those entities. Remember they don't have to have Alexa for me to call them, they just have to have it to call me.
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
upstatemike said:
Depends on how much access you want to give people beyond your circle of family and friends to call you whenever they want. My experience is that nothing good ever comes from unsolicited calls from strangers so I am happy to adopt a "don't call me I'll call you" attitude with those entities. Remember they don't have to have Alexa for me to call them, they just have to have it to call me.
 
How can you always be near an echo? Is there a hand-held wireless device?
 

fcwilt

Active Member
mikefamig said:
How can you always be near an echo? Is there a hand-held wireless device?
 
A cell phone with the Alexa app can call an Echo device assuming your contact information is on the cell phone.
 
Frederick
 

mikefamig

Senior Member
Frederick C. Wilt said:
A cell phone with the Alexa app can call an Echo device assuming your contact information is on the cell phone.
 
Frederick
But then you expose yourself to the vulnerabilities of the cell phone that you were trying to avoid in the first place.
 

fcwilt

Active Member
mikefamig said:
But then you expose yourself to the vulnerabilities of the cell phone that you were trying to avoid in the first place.
 
Understood but I thought you were asking how it was possible to call an Echo device without using another Echo device. 
 
You can choose to block folks you don't wish to hear from.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Why do I need to always be near an Echo? I am perfectly capable of walking into a room that has an Echo when I want to make a call or answer one. I can keep an old cell phone with the battery removed in my car for emergencies if I decide that is prudent but when I am not near a phone I am generally doing something that I don't want to be interrupted from anyway so I don't see an issue.
 

fcwilt

Active Member
Having read all of the posts here with great interest I have decided I must stop talking to my wife. Her last name was Campbell and for all I know she may be a Scottish Secret Agent.
 
You never know...
 

RAL

Senior Member
upstatemike said:
Around this time next year I am going to discontinue all cell phone service and make Alexa the only way a person can reach me. This is no hardship for me making outbound calls since Alexa can call any phone number but nobody can call me unless they use Alexa
 
Just hope you don't need to call 911. 
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
RAL said:
Just hope you don't need to call 911. 
 
That is a valid point but I have given myself a year to address it. Maybe by then Amazon will have a super nifty solution but if not I can always maintain a basic land line attached to an Echo Connect which does support 911 calls through an Echo. I will just need to block all incoming calls from that line. I can probably use Homeseer to accomplish that. 
 

ano

Senior Member
Frederick C. Wilt said:
Having read all of the posts here with great interest I have decided I must stop talking to my wife. Her last name was Campbell and for all I know she may be a Scottish Secret Agent.
 
You never know...
Albert Einstein was a pretty smart guy, but after his second marriage fell apart he had a girlfriend by the name of Margarita Konenkova who turned out to be a Russian spy. Einstein never knew it.
 

picta

Active Member
ano said:
Albert Einstein was a pretty smart guy, but after his second marriage fell apart he had a girlfriend by the name of Margarita Konenkova who turned out to be a Russian spy. Einstein never knew it.
 
Wasn't her name Alexa Konenkova?
 

pvrfan

Active Member
This thread has gotten off track.  I think privacy is a legitimate concern...and both Google and Amazon have a direct financial interest in exploiting your personal information.  
 
The more personal information they get (and collate), the more money they make.
 
They each have invested a lot in systems to harvest our information.  We, the users, then get some services 'for free'.  I have my idea of who is getting the short end of the stick.
 
I think Apple is different:  they make money by selling expensive gadgets.  They've repeatedly asserted that they don't collect, and don't want to collect, user's personal information--it is a key point of differentiation for them.  Someone is going to call that a sham but Apple is watched very closely and no one has found them deviating from this policy.
 
So, no, I don't want Alexa or Google Assistant in the house.  
 
Besides, in our family of four, I'm the only one who'll even talk to Siri.  My wife and two adult children wouldn't be caught dead speaking out loud to a machine.
 
Craig
 

pete_c

Guru
This thread has gotten off track.
 
+++
 
It is drawing me to reading all of the comments.
 
;)
 
 
 
Next was going to create a post about the proposed net neutrality rules changes. 
 

ano

Senior Member
picta said:
Wasn't her name Alexa Konenkova?
Actually yes, but she changed it because when Einstein would call her, his Echo would answer. :unsure:
 
pete_c said:
Next was going to create a post about the proposed net neutrality rules changes. 
Certainly an interesting policy worth discussing, but aren't we missing the elephant in the room?  Congress's recent action to remove ISP privacy requirements allowing ISPs to monitor your activity and sell the information for profit.  Even if Apple and Amazon have privacy requirements in place to not use this information, your ISP can and will, along with a whole lot more. And you might say encryption solves this problem?  Not entirely, it doesn't. Types of "website fingerprinting" can reveal the website, even if its encrypted. An Israeli company proved they could identify the Youtube video you were watching, even encrypted, with 98% accuracy.
 
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