Much like Black Friday, the e-commerce giant Amazon has devised its very own mega-shopping day – known as the ‘Amazon Prime Day.’ With the 2019 Prime Day in full swing, several shoppers can now avail heavy deals and discounts on privacy-invasive smart home products and other connected devices such as Amazon Echos and Ring doorbell surveillance units.
This one-and-a-half-day shopping spree seems to be a perfect opportunity for Amazon to sell several devices known for their privacy threats. And, yet, it seems that most Prime Day shoppers care little about their privacy, a recent survey showed.
If you take a closer look at the most lucrative deals across the platform, it doesn’t take long to notice that the Amazon’s Echo products such as Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Plus and Google’s smart-home offerings such as the Google Home Mini and Home Max are a few among the several most heavily discounted products.
Smart-home products and connected devices generally come with a huge price tag making them a rather premium offering for an average buyer.
Heavy discounts on special shopping days such as the Prime Day will now make it easier for most people to simply buy a privacy-invasive device and install it in their private spaces such as bedrooms or living rooms.
Here’s an overview of the smart-home solutions now available with heavy discounts on Amazon.com:
- Amazon Echo Dot is now available for $22 as opposed to its original price of $50
- Amazon Echo Show is sold for $50 with the original price being $90
- Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) is now available at a 50% discount for $50
- Google Home Max is sold for just $249 as opposed to its original price of $400
Both Google Home and Amazon Echo come with ‘listening technology’ making them capable of listening to what users say. While these devices are claimed to record only when their ‘wake word’ is said out loud, there have been several instances where people have noticed these devices to start recording as they have mistaken another unrelated word for their wake word and started listening.
Such false positives cannot be easily ignored. In the recent past, a group of privacy advocates has filed a complaint against Amazon’s smart-home devices with the FTC accusing the devices of violating the Federal Wiretap Act.
UK government advisors have warned against using the smart mic devices if you’re a high profile person such as Member of Parliament.
It was also recently revealed that Amazon and Google employees listen back to some of the recordings that are stores on your account when using your smart microphone.
It was also discovered this year that Amazon employees could work out where you live from your Alexa data. We also learned that Amazon keep your Alexa transcript recordings forever.
Privacy concerns and poor security measures are now rampant across many smart-home and home automation solutions currently available. In such a point of time, Amazon’s heavily discounted offering of the smart-home devices and wearables now seems like a trap shoppers should be aware of.