Amazon Echo Sucks Customer Reviews and Feedback

From Everything.Sucks

Amazon Echo (shortened to Echo) is a brand of smart speakers developed by Amazon. Echo devices connect to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service Alexa, which will respond when you say "Alexa". Users may change this wake word to "Amazon", "Echo" or "Computer". The features of the device include: voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic, sports, and other real-time information, such as news. Alexa can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation system. Users are able to extend the Alexa capabilities by installing "skills" (additional functionality developed by third-party vendors, in other settings more commonly called apps such as weather programs and audio features).

David Brown reported for USA TODAY of how Amazon's family-friendly Echo Dot Kids Edition has been accused of listening in on your children and keeping recordings forever, even after parents have tried to delete them:

In a complaint that's set to be filed with the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday, 19 consumer advocates and privacy groups claim that Amazon is illegally collecting voice recording transcripts and personal information via the youth-oriented version of its voice assistant.

Launched in 2018, the colorful smart speaker responds to voice commands much like the standard Echo device.

The device "only deletes information if a parent explicitly requests deletion by contacting customer service, otherwise, it is retained forever," according to a draft of the FTC complaint posted on the Echo Kids Privacy website.

The draft cites several other alleged failings, including flawed parental controls, a confusing "maze" of privacy policies and lack of storage transparency.

The coalition of privacy advocates argue that Amazon's practices violate the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). Amazon said in a blog post that Alexa and Echo Dot Kids Edition are fully compliant with COPPA.

Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., said in a letter to the FTC that the findings raise “serious concerns about the extent to which the Echo Dot Kids Edition complies” with elements of the law.

Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., each signed the letter.

“Children are a uniquely vulnerable population. We urge the Commission to take all necessary steps to ensure their privacy," the senators wrote in the letter.

This isn't the first time the tech giant has been called out over privacy issues.

In 2018, it was revealed that a recording of a Portland woman was sent accidentally to someone in the family's contact list. And last spring, the American Civil Liberties Union exposed how Amazon was aggressively trying to sell its face surveillance product to government agencies, sparking privacy concerns.

Jasyn of Philadelphia, PA mentioned in a review: "The Echo Show pases voice commands slowly. When we Amazon Alexa, it worked great. Now after 2 years Alexa doesn't process the usual commands well. Most of the time I get the response as, "Sorry I am not sure." This is frustrating. Even after I raise my voice to say the basic commands. Also I noticed this activates voice command even when I don't say the wake word."


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