Microphones in Amazon's new smart glasses could secretly listen in to all conversations within earshot - 'Terrifying spyware'...
Microphones in Amazon's new smart glasses that give wearer access to Alexa on-the-go could secretly listen in to all conversations within earshot
- Amazon released its $180 pair of Alexa-powered smart glasses yesterday
- Microphones are built into the frames that give users access to Alexa
- Consumers fear the personal assistant can use device to listen in on them
Amazon unveiled a slew of new devices at an event this week, with one sparking fears of an ‘Orwellian’ world.
Called Echo Frames, these Alexa powered smart glasses have tiny microphones built into the frame that allow the wearer to hear the personal assistant and it hear them.
Consumers have voiced their fears of this ‘terrifying spyware’, suggesting it is a threat to privacy as Alexa can hear and record what users are saying – and it can pick up conversations within earshot.
Amazon has pitched its new Echo Frames as enabling users to have hands-free access to Alexa.
You can hear notifications and alerts, activate smart home or call a friend, ‘all without pulling out your phone’.
The glasses are designed with open-ear technology that pushes sound directly to your ear, but leaves your ears uncovered so the world around is not blocked.
The frames pair with the Alexa app and Amazon shared that the microphones can be disabled by double-pressing the action button on the side – as the firm wants to protect the privacy of its users.
Joseph Jerome, an independent privacy consultant, told DailyMail.com in an email, ‘Echo Frames are an interesting product, though they may be more novelty than anything.'
'I think this is another attempt to try to figure out new form factors for on-the-go connectivity beyond the phone, and headsets of all types seem like the future.'
‘Tech companies and funders are betting big on AR/VR and so-called mixed reality, and anyone can see the potential of an audio-controlled heads-up display.
‘That's where we're headed, and it obviously presents both huge data collection issues with respect to the wearer and privacy implications for what that tech will ultimately observe.'
Many consumers flocked to Twitter following the release of Echo Frames to voice their fears about these ‘data stealing’ glasses.
‘Terrifying spyware. It is deeply wrong to wear this crap. It infringes my liberty as well as your own,’ wrote Twitter users Sam Jordison.
The device costs just $180, but ‘Ahmed’ wrote ‘don’t be lulled, the $$ is in the data they collect from you’.
User ‘razz’ noted that ‘doesn’t get more personal than a pair of glasses on your face or more unexpected than a ring. Depending on what sensors each device has inside we can figure out what data is being collected by @Amazon to make up for those low prices’.
Another users jokingly said these glasses are a part of a ‘Stream your life to Amazon’ episode.
The frames pair with the Alexa app and Amazon shared that the microphones can be disabled by double-pressing the action button on the side – as the firm wants to protect the privacy of its users
‘Echo Frames are just another manifestation of Echo generally,’ Jerome wrote.
‘These devices aren't intended to listen to conversations; they're intended to listen to wake words and respond accordingly.
‘Now, we've obviously seen stories of where that went wrong.’
‘At this point, voice assistants will make mistakes and can activate at the wrong time.
‘That's part of the reason the tech companies were reviewing audio records to try to understand what could inadvertently set off Alexa.
‘There's also motivation to collect audio data to better improve voice assistants, but that isn't the same thing as wanting to listen to conversations.’
‘I don't think consumers should be worried generally, but I also don't think folks should put smart assistants in their bedrooms.’
‘If the concern is that these devices will capture conversations or somehow help profile us with respect to our most sensitive activities, then it just strikes me that bedrooms are an especially intimate area.’
‘It isn't that people shouldn't, but if we're really concerned about Orwellian surveillance, where we put these devices in our homes matters.’