AMR

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What does Amazon handing over Echo data mean to me, to you, to a developer?

After resisting, Amazon finally hands over the Echo recording in Arkansas murder case. Since the arrival of Always-listening Amazon Alexa, Customers couldn’t have become happier as there’s someone who always listens to them, answers their questions and even have become friends with kids at home.

But I’m not concerned about Echo going Rogue ordering online or Echo delivering Pornographic content to a kid, This is just about the very basic discussion that Internet used to have a few years back — Privacy — what does a company do with my own data? Who owns it? Who can get hold of it? Just a warrant is all that someone needs to listen to my private conversation? I don’t know if Common internet citizens still remember NSA or Edward Snowden, But I do remember that,

Privacy is something even a businessman (isn’t he one?) like Steve Jobs took very seriously.
Google Trends — ‘Privacy’ Topic Interest going down by the end of 2016

While Apple is being always criticized for being very conservative with data, at least they’ve not been playing around with my private life (data) just because I’ve paid some $$$ purchasing their devices or services, because I believe $AAPL, a public trading company with a huge pressure to serve its investors, actually treats my money as ‘Trust’ — my data as my data — not their own!

But others like Facebook, Google and the big boy — Amazon, sitting on a huge personal Data Chunk (which is actually the crude oil now) — what are they doing with that? Unlike Apple that completely encrypts my data (which means even a warrant cannot retrieve my personal data if I’m not ready to share), Others don’t seem be to be doing that because they don’t see my $$$ that I spent on them as a Liability or Trust, rather that’s another added Asset for them to show me recommendations to increase my AOV or Ads for additive income on which their whole business is built. But the real question I’d like to put forward is, Are you, who would end up spending $$$ on their product, ready to ask them this question — ‘How safe my personal data is?’

Will that day ever come when you are concerned and shout out ‘Handle my private data with care?’

Finally, a snippet of HN comment,

This should be a lesson to people who don’t understand the distinction between “can’t” and “won’t”.

Apple says “can’t” because of the way they encrypt personal/private data, while Amazon said “won’t” and gained some good PR but “won’t”, in an authoritative world “won’t” can be — will be overturned and that’s been proved today!

For Privacy-respecting Developers who build services/products that deal with Private data,

this day should ring a bill to make sure the solution ensures “can’t” and not “won’t”!

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