The spy is under your own roof
It is a public and notorious fact that privacy on the Internet does not exist, the possibility of preventing our information from being in the hands of third parties is very limited, and it has been proven that the world’s major intelligence agencies use our online activity to monitor what we do during the day, determining areas at risk of terrorist attacks, armed conflicts, or situations that harm international peace (and our own political interests).
People like Edward Snowden or Michael Hastings confronted the government and made it known that the secret authorities of these agencies are responsible for creating complete profiles about everyone, with detailed records of their daily activities, family and friends, property, banking movements, travel, tastes and so on, using our social networks and other digital media fully established in the routine.
Just as we already see that technology has been used to keep people connected, it is also important to understand the risks involved in finding someone else, and to get specific information about who they are and what they do, but in this article we will make particular references to Amazon and one of its best-selling products, better known as Alexa, is an intelligent personal assistant that we can talk to and understand our orders.
Alexa is a device capable of understanding our questions and answering them, using its permanent internet connection, with data stored in the cloud, so that it will always have some answer to our doubts, although sometimes it does not understand what we ask, it always tells us that we can rethink the matter, or it will simply tell us that it cannot process what we want it to do.
As a personal assistant, Alexa is able to do a huge amount of tasks for us, from math operations, conversion, answering questions about daily life, playing music, setting the alarm and even turning on the lights in our room, however, this smart device hides a secret behavior that has been discovered by users and has gone viral, reopening the discussion about the privacy of our data.
The concern of users
Taking into account one of the documents leaked by Wikileaks, which indicates that Amazon cooperates with the CIA, one of the users who acquired this personal assistant wanted to ask him some questions related to the subject, as well as other customers who are concerned about keeping their personal data and the daily activity Alexa records of their lives safe.
Surprisingly, Alexa is able to answer immediately whatever we ask, but when these people became more interested in her safety, and face the device to find out if Amazon works with the CIA, without any explanation the wizard stops working and gives no answer.
It is easy to know when the device listens to us, because its top circular light turns on, which means it is ready for us to talk and then answer, but when a user asked about Amazon‘s relationship with the intelligence agency, the device went off, after which the man insisted on repeating the question and the machine’s behavior was the same, without any response.
When you ask Alexa if she is capable of lying, the answer is a bit broad, she says she always tries to tell the truth, but she doesn’t deny the possibility of giving false answers, after that, if you ask her what the CIA is, the assistant will answer using public information on Google, you can also ask if she is directly connected to the intelligence agency, to which she will answer no, since it was built by Amazon.
It makes a lot of sense for Alexa to behave this way only when we ask about the work done between Amazon and the CIA, taking into account that among the Wikileaks files there is a huge cooperation in which user data is involved, and that it is also a monstrous company, with a fortune superior to Facebook and soon greater than Google, which means that it stores a massive database with people from all over the world.
Another of the users wanted to go further, and decided to ask Alexa about Michael Hastings and his alleged CIA murder, the answer was again total silence and the assistant was disconnected. This may mean that there is a conflict between the intelligence patterns of the product when the information provided by the programmers collides with the artificial intelligence codes implanted in the base card.
The latest news from Alexa
It is worth noting that there was a system update when this whole thing went viral, now Alexa answers the question about her connection to the CIA in a negative way, but equally, when a user asks if their messages are sent to that intelligence agency, the device is turned off again, so that this chapter of the mystery is still not closed.
But definitely the strange behaviours of this device do not stop there, recently there was a big scandal among users by the latest uncontrolled novelty of Alexa, the voice assistant started laughing without reason, sometimes in the middle of the night terrifying its users, immediately thousands of comments on Twitter about this problem became a trend.
There is no clear explanation of what produces these failures, some say that the evident tone of laughter is the same as that of Hillary Clinton, others believe that it is an undetected advance in the artificial intelligence of the device and that it is approaching a digital evolution capable of controlling itself and listening to what we say under our own consciousness, fed by the apocalyptic theories that have been reborn with the Robot Sophia in recent weeks, this does not sound good.
However, the most conservative people think that it is a failure introduced at will by Amazon to distract users, and thus forget about the CIA episode, although it is a difficult issue to overlook, as social networks have been flooded with videos in which thousands of users are tested and face the secrets of Alexa.
All that remains is to wait for official statements from Amazon, although of course, if they never said they were working with the CIA or responded to the concerns of well-known journalists, it makes no sense for them to decide to do so now with an assistant who is in millions of homes, willing to spy on everyone’s private life and hiding information of interest from the public about their privacy policies.