Hey Alexa, stop listening to me

Claire Van Aken, staff writer

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The well-known virtual assistant Alexa, created by Amazon, has been a controversial product of the company and utterly investigated by consumers. Since the device is voice-activated, Alexa owners seem to believe she is listening to all daily conversations.

It is amazing having the technology we do, but do you ever wonder how it works? Who is the brain behind Alexa? His name is Rohit Prasad, an Indian engineer, who was on the technology side of the project. He moved to Amazon in 2013 and brought previous experience to the table regarding language and speech through electronics.

Prasad interviewed with The Times of India and says, “Instead of pushing a button to shut my garage door, I just say ‘Hey Alexa, shut the garage door.’ There is no need to require steps that aren’t necessary.” Knowing this and how it works, it’s evident that Alexa is listening for her trigger words and phrases.

“It is outrageous that the Amazon Alexa is recording every conversation in a person’s home and transmitting it to the cloud,” Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., tweeted May 26. “This is exactly why we need an internet bill of rights! Didn’t we fight a revolution to prevent exactly this kind of surveillance?” Many people and politicians are upset with this for the privacy and security of people. If Alexa is indeed listening, one way to keep it from spying on you, is to unplug the device and keep it off until you know you will utilize all of its conveniences.

So, how will this be handled with the public eye in the future? Will Amazon remodel their system? Will Alexa be in lower demand? Investigations will continue in the near future.