I’m a huge proponent of smart devices like the Amazon Alexa and Google Home – they make life just a bit easier and a little more connected simply by taking voice commands. I primarily use the Echo family of smart devices, from the moment I wake up with a voice activated alarm to the moment I go to bed by having Alexa turn off my bedroom lights. There’s even an Echo on my lab bench at work where it reads my news, plays music and helps me with basic math calculations while my hands are occupied with chemicals. With every single commute on the way to and from work, I wish Alexa was integrated into my truck so I would never have to use my phone. Of all places, having a smart assistant in the automobile makes the most sense. Luckily, Amazon and Google are competing for the smart assistant which is pushing the development with each passing day.
Amazon announced a new smart device called the Echo Look late last week. With a built-in speaker and mic, it’s capable of performing the same tasks as the Echo, Tap and Dot, but where the Look differs is with its camera. Amazon is looking to help ensure people are picking the right outfit before they step out of the home. The Look can snap a picture of you, upload it to the cloud and then give you feedback. By using the cloud and AI, the Look will compare your outfit to popular trends and let you know which outfit looks best. While I think this concept is incredibly awesome (I’ve signed up to get the Look), I think there’s a high risk of capturing information that you don’t want in the cloud.
Burger King activates Google Home and why that’s bad for voice activated cameras
Last month, Burger King made the news by activating thousands of Google Homes by saying “OK Google” in a commercial. Google Home wasn’t smart enough to differentiate a commercial from a real voice and went on to explain what the BK Whopper is to unprepared users. While this event wasn’t a big deal and didn’t hurt anyone, imagine someone activating your Echo Look when you’re not paying attention. You could be naked or in the middle of an intimate moment. The last thing you need is that visual information in the cloud where third parties can view it. You might not even have the right to delete it once it’s in the cloud too.
That’s why Amazon needs to find better ways to secure its voice activated assistant before it releases the Echo Look. Burger King proved just how simple it was to take over the Google Home, and we don’t need anyone to prove how easy it is to take over the Echo Look in the same fashion.
There’s still time
Luckily Amazon has not released the Echo Look yet. It’s an invitation only program to get the Echo Look and there’s no set date for its release. There has also been rumors that Amazon is looking to catch up to Google and include voice recognition on its smart devices in the near future. If Amazon can’t activate voice recognition in the Echo Look it should consider creating a physical barrier that blocks the camera lens when it’s not being used.
If Amazon doesn’t add either of these security measures, make sure to place your Echo Look in a place where it can’t violate your privacy.
I still hope to get my hands on an Echo Look as soon as I can because my outfits need some help.