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To not be paranoid about Alexa?

106 replies

PoxAlert · 28/10/2018 21:53

My husband seems way OTT worried that an Amazon echo is going to listen in to our life.

I'm of the opinion that.

1 - surely it won't/can't/isn't allowed.

2 - we're fucking boring anyway. Not like I read our our credit card numbers etc.

And if I do just go ahead and buy myself one (mainly for Spotify) will I regret getting an echo dot over a standard echo. Is the music quality bad?

OP posts:

BertramKibbler · 30/10/2018 07:40

We’ve one in the kitchen, dining room, lounge, home office and our bedroom. We’ve had them for around a year, I’ve not noticed any targeted adverts anywhere. Certainly nothing as obvious as the stuff that pops up from my WhatsApp chats etc.


Oysterbabe · 30/10/2018 07:42

I like the shopping list function too.


Alwaysawomantome · 30/10/2018 07:43

I've got them dotted around the house, I love them. I'm not bothered about them listening. I'm not sure what can be gained from listening to me telling me kids off 1045 times a day and moaning at my husband for not doing the weeds... again.


OhFlipMama · 30/10/2018 07:44

I'd love one, but I won't be getting one. I can get a good Bluetooth speaker and don't need voice control really, it looks fun and convenient but too much in the realm of 'tech I don't fully understand' for my liking.


SendintheArdwolves · 30/10/2018 07:53

I find the whole idea worrying and I won't have Alexa/OK Google in my home (I'm not paying money to install a monitoring device that is always listening for me to say keywords so it can try to sell me stuff). And that's the use it admits to - that's the angle that the makers think sounds acceptable!

And to everyone saying "why would anyone listen to my boring life/I hope alexa enjoys me singing along to the radio/I've got nothing to hide" that is a very naive attitude - you never know what seems fine now but will be important in the future.

It's basically saying "that would never happen to someone like ME" because you regard the state as something you can trust to be on your side. That is not always the case.


BertramKibbler · 30/10/2018 07:57

That’s a pretty high level of paranoia


ProfessorMoody · 30/10/2018 07:59

We have an Echo in our living room and a dot in each bedroom and the kitchen. I couldn't care less if they listen to us. I don't see what all the fuss is really.


SplashingAroundTown · 30/10/2018 08:09

For those of you who have an Alexa (or loads of them!), why? What do they actually do that’s so great? I sort of get the shopping list thing, but the reality is I wipe my hands and add stuff to the ocado order on my phone. Or use a (gasp) pencil to write a list.
Not trying to be sarsastic but I don’t understand what I’d use it for? We have a Bluetooth speaker that plays music via Spotify on my phone. And we have a radio (not even a digital one!) for, um... radio.

I don’t need to ask Alexa random questions because I can just google them. So go on. Sell me the benefits?


easyandy101 · 30/10/2018 08:16

Mumsnet advert on this thread for me was for Alexa

Of course itlistens that's it's job

My sisters one had a full personality breakdown the other day

And yes phones listen, I've had it proven to me enough times with targeted ads immediately after conversations


BertramKibbler · 30/10/2018 08:20

The main benefits of Alexa come in if you have a load of other gadgets so we can use it to control the TV (that alone was worth it to me when feeding twins!), control the lights, control the heating, view the security cams, etc.
We’ve also got prime so have access to prime music so use them as speakers a lot (there’s obviously other equipment that can do this but we don’t need it with Alexa).


missbattenburg · 30/10/2018 08:30

As I’m not a murderer, you can use my Fitbit data to track my fascinating daily supermarket/ dog walk/ putting bins out.

Perhaps more usefully, I think the murder case used the victim's fitbit.

Basically, the husband says he left her at home and she was fine so someone must have come in later and killed her. Her fitbit data showed massive elevation of heartbeat followed by a sudden stop... during the time he was home.


aLilNonnyMouse · 30/10/2018 08:42

I have both an echo and an echo dot. The speaker quality of the dot is not very good, where as the echo one is very very good. If your main use of it will be music then it's worth the extra to get the echo

The dot works great for a bedroom device (I turn the lights on/off/dim them/change colour with it, plus set alarms and listen to the odd song) but I wouldn't use it as the main living room one.


Oysterbabe · 30/10/2018 08:54

I've never understood the hatred of targeted ads. I prefer to see ads for things I might want to buy.


LIZS · 30/10/2018 08:58

We got one free with Hive but have yet to find her especially useful, not found anything that we could not be done another way. If we blue tooth to an external speaker elsewhere in the house presumably you still need to command from the Echo(or can you use Alexa app?). Can it do more than one thing at once? It also is not compatible with itunes.


LIZS · 30/10/2018 08:59

Oh and dd is paranoid about her listening in so it spends more time off than on!


PrincessConsuelaBananahamm0ck · 30/10/2018 09:07

We have a standard Alexa in the kitchen and a dot upstairs. It's mainly used for spotify and the radio. I like being able to tell it play 'xyz' from spotify as it works much better than the bluetooth speaker/phone combo we used to have. I also use it most days to ask what the weather's going to be like and prove to the kids they DO need a coat for school! It's useful and quick to set reminders on too - eg. reminding me and the kids on a Tuesday morning at 8.15am they need their musical instruments for school plus other little reminders. I'm a bit forgetful and the extra organisation helps me - I don't always see or hear reminders on my phone. It's also good for setting timers when cooking dinner - sometimes you need more than one buzzer for something. Yes, it might seem like technology gone mad for some - of course there are other ways to do all the things I've just mentioned, but if you can do it quickly and easily with one device, why not? As for the listening in, I honestly couldn't care less. I'm convinced my phone listens in anyway. But again, this currently doesn't worry me in the slightest.


Alexaaaa · 30/10/2018 09:30

For those of you who have an Alexa (or loads of them!), why?

I'm on holiday, but at a certain time each night my lights will come home to make it look like someone is in, then go off later at a specific time, so for security.

I don't need remote controls as I can control my tv, sky box and surround sound with my voice (this one also needs a harmony hub)

I can go to bed and say goodnight and she will turn off the lights, the heating off, play a sleep sounds playlist from spotify and wake me up in the morning to a radio alarm with the kettle downstairs already boiled for me.

She's just about going to be able to warm my bed up for me, and I can incorporate that into a routine where my bedside lights can come on to a specific colour or just dimmed for reading.

Instead of shouting downstairs, I can drop in from one to the other and use it like an intercom or make announcements such as "dinner is ready" or if my kids were younger "time for school"

It can read my kindle books, give me suggestions for recipes, read my upcoming calendar entries, give me reminders, order stuff for me on Amazon and give me updates on my order... oh and of course my shopping list!

And I probably use it for loads more too, I love the smart home/Alexa integration hence the name.


Oysterbabe · 30/10/2018 09:37

We have ours hooked up to the blinds so we ask her to wake up the house and she opens them all. She controls the lights so when I come down with the baby in the morning I ask her to put them on 2% so we can come round gently. We ask her to turn on the electric blankets 20 minutes before we go to bed so they can warm up. Lots of little things that are not that necessary but convenient.


serialtester · 30/10/2018 09:48

Alexaaaa can you talk us through how you set that up and what the costs are? Sounds amazing!


Alexaaaa · 30/10/2018 09:58

Well an echo dot you can pick up for around £30.00 and that is your basic hub for everything else.

Smart bulbs and plugs I can get 2 for £16.99

I've just ordered a silentnight dual control kingsize electric blanket with Alexa integration for £52.99 which I though wasn't bad as the ones without Alexa were around the same price.

My heating is controlled by Tado smart themostat v2 which was £99.00 and we fitted it ourselves.

The harmony hub was £129.99 but I bought the all singing all dancing Elite so you can pick them up cheaper, or a broadlink pro will do the same for your entertainment system and again is much cheaper.

That's it really, everything else is Alexa and Alexa routines set up through the app and connecting to the various devices.


Alexaaaa · 30/10/2018 10:00

Oh you can do an electric blanket just with a normal one and a smart plug, you don't need a fancy one.


Jeanclaudejackety · 30/10/2018 10:02

I genuinely don't think I'll ever say anything that could possibly be used against me so the listening thing really doesnt bother me.

If you're some sort of activist or have a sensitive type of job then I could maybe see why. Or if you dabble in some substances or something.


Alexaaaa · 30/10/2018 10:03

Just thought of another thing with routines.

You can have some fun with them...if we say "Alexa, sexy time" then she sets the lights to red and dims them and then plays Marvin Gaye, Lets Get it On!


Twork · 30/10/2018 10:06

Alexa is listening. That's the point.

Whether you should worry about that...?

I do. What might seem like mundane life to you, is all being monitored and used to create a picture about you. Whilst you may think that it's a positive because it means you get fewer rubbish ads, in reality it means your privacy is being eroded.

We are pretty much monitored constantly; CCTV, bank activity, loyalty cards, phone and watch trackers, work swipe in cards... The only part of our life which is even vaguely private is in our homes and even then with web cams and phones that is questionable. To my mind why would you consent to even more info being made available about you?

You might not know why someome is collating in depth detail about your daily routine but they are/can.

Mark Zuckerberg apparently keeps his webcam covered...

As an aside, a few weeks back I went through all my apps and was horrified at the number which had turned their microphones back on without my permission.


Fatasfook · 30/10/2018 10:15

1 - surely it won't/can't/isn't allowed.

Very naive

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