Americans are growing increasingly flippant about their constitutionally-protected privacy in the 21st century, and it could come back to bite them.
Some of the self-transgressions are inadvertent. With social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, our browsing data is being quietly collected and sold to the highest bidder. More often than not, this information winds up in the hands of advertisers who then use our own scrolling habits to bait us into buying more of their products. In other cases, this data is sold to political influence firms in order to target exposure of candidates.
In either case, we’ve allowed this with our blind agreement to the lengthy and legalese-laced “terms and agreements” we digitally agree to when signing on for the first time.
A disturbing new trend in consumer surveillance has arrived, and has been welcomed into our abodes, in the form of home assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa. Now the online retailer would like to make it easier to interact with their data-mining operation by creating an Alexa robot that will follow you around.
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A prototype of the robot, codenamed “Vesta,” is about “waist-high,” can be controlled by voice and is capable of moving around on its own using built-in cameras, according to the report.
A similar report last April revealed that Amazon is interested in creating home robots that might be able to provide access to the company’s Amazon Alexa voice assistant no matter where you are. Bloomberg said the robot isn’t ready to launch this year as originally planned.
An Amazon representative declined to comment.
Amazon has continued to invest in robotics and in June introduced new warehouse robots including the Pegasus and Xanthus.
Amazon has been continuously criticized for its failure to protect the data collected by Alexa, in some cases recording us without our knowledge.
Trading privacy for convenience is a trend among Americans, certainly, but it could soon prove to be a dangerous one.
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