Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Alexa Doesn’t Support Caller Blocking

Nicole Nguyen, Buzzfeed:

To use Alexa calling and messaging, users need to verify their phone number and import their entire address book, which a spokesperson says is stored “securely in the Amazon cloud.” Your phone number essentially becomes your username and, like on WhatsApp and Signal, anyone with your phone number will be able to contact you on your at-home Echo or Echo Dot (including, er, PR people, much to the chagrin of this reporter). The key difference is that WhatsApp and Signal allow users to block certain contacts, while Alexa does not.

[…]

There are other privacy concerns as well. There’s no password protection to use Alexa calling, which means anyone in your household can make an Alexa call using your account. They can also ask your Echo device, “Play my message” when you receive a new text or voice message (Alexa calling does not support voicemail) and listen to that message without your consent.

The worst part of all of this? You need to phone Amazon to get them to deactivate it. Yeah — you can enable it via the app, but you have to wait on hold for someone else to deactivate it. That’s atrocious.