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Privacy Hardware Technology

Amazon's Echo Spot Is a Sneaky Way To Get a Camera Into Your Bedroom (theverge.com) 155

Yesterday, Amazon announced six new hardware products at a surprise event in Seattle. The one that everyone is talking about though is called the Echo Spot -- a little alarm clock with a camera that will probably be pointing directly at your bed. "While all the focus is on what the Echo Spot looks like, it's important to remember that Amazon is using the Spot as a very clever way of making you comfortable with having a camera in your bedroom," reports The Verge. From the report: Amazon launched its Echo Look camera earlier this year to judge your outfits. It's designed to sit in your wardrobe and offer you style advice, and it was Amazon's first Echo device with a camera. Amazon quickly followed it up with the Echo Show, a touchscreen device that sits in your kitchen and lets you watch tutorials or recipes and participate in video calls. Amazon's Look device is still only available exclusively by invitation, and in hindsight it now looks like experimental hardware to gauge the reaction of a camera in the bedroom. A litmus test, if you will. Echo Spot feels like the real push to get cameras inside your smart home. It's more than just an alarm clock, but Amazon is definitely pushing this as a $130 device that will sit next to your bed. Promotional materials show it sitting on nightstands, providing a selection of clock faces and news / weather information. The privacy concerns are obvious: an always-listening (for a keyword) microphone in your bedroom, and a camera pointing at your bed.
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Amazon's Echo Spot Is a Sneaky Way To Get a Camera Into Your Bedroom

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  • Well, fuck. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Thursday September 28, 2017 @08:46PM (#55273547)

    ...a little alarm clock with a camera that will probably be pointing directly at your bed.

    WOW! Quite the salacious dirty (wink, wink, nod, nod...) thing to suggest, I'm getting hot just thinking about it. I'm not sure why it would "probably" be pointed at my bed. Am I positioning it that way? Can the device re-position its eye as its masters at Amazon direct it? Is the suggestion that Amazon is interested in capturing pictures of me fucking? And why? Are they going to try to monetized fuck videos of me? Are they going to analyze my fucking technique and try to sell me self-help books and videos? Are they going to suggest that I and my mate might look better fucking on a certain bedspreads and zillion-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets? Because the way the suggestion is presented, clearly the author of the Verge article thinks Amazon has some sort of interest in watching me fuck.

    • Mmmm. Creepy Cameras-- just the thing that took Google Glass and pushed it into The Dead Pool of bad thoughts in consumer electronics devices....

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I look forward to hacking your daughter's alarm clock and jacking off to the nightly strip show.

      • I look forward to hacking your daughter's alarm clock and jacking off to the nightly strip show.

        My daughter was born without a vagina, you insensitive clod.

        • Doesn't mean she can't strip...
        • I look forward to hacking your daughter's alarm clock and jacking off to the nightly strip show.

          My daughter was born without a vagina, you insensitive clod.

          He might just have a fetish for watching her change her ostomy bag?

    • You're right. No one would ever be upset about their sexual exploits being made public. Certainly no one would fund Hulk Hogan to try to take down Gawker as revenge. And IoT devices have such a reputation for security.

      To say nothing of the fact that while the company itself mught not give a shit, it might be something the employees of said company do.

      • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Friday September 29, 2017 @12:44PM (#55277537)

        You're right. No one would ever be upset about their sexual exploits being made public.

        Too bad for Amazon (and their would-be hackers)... I'm married... nothing to see here.

        • Brings to mind the old "what's worse than finding a worm in your apple" joke. What's worse than the hackers finding nothing happening on your bedroom webcam? You being one of the hackers who sees something happening. (Or better infidelity based punchline.)

    • I'm not sure why it would "probably" be pointed at my bed. Am I positioning it that way?

      I don't know, do you purposefully position clocks so you cannot rad them?

      I assure you most people who bother to put a clock in the bedroom would rather be able to read it from the bed, than not. To them this is a kind of clock, among many other things.

      • I don't know, do you purposefully position clocks so you cannot rad them?

        Yes, I do actually. I can't stand the light from them and reach over to turn it to look if I care what time it is. I don't care what time is it when I'm asleep, I just want it to wake me up in the morning.

        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          I just use an analog clock. No light. Also, battery powered so I wake up even if there was a power flicker while sleeping. How weird is that?

      • I don't know, do you purposefully position clocks so you cannot rad them?

        Before my phone took the place of my alarm clock, I always kept the alarm clock in my bedroom faced away from my bed. I rarely need to know what time it is when I'm in bed, so there was no reason to have the glow of the clock shining on me all night.

        I just want the alarm in the morning.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      It's called security, how secure will the device be, when hacked what will be uploaded to the internet. Do you trust Amazon with your future career, this on a $130 device with a 90 day warranty and if porn goes up of you and your partner what will be the warranty payout when you are fired, maximum $130. You say all sorts of crap in the bedroom, want that broadcast to your employer or even more fun, you children's friend sharing it in school because kids, you know they will do it too each other and of course

    • ...a little alarm clock with a camera that will probably be pointing directly at your bed.

      I'm not sure why it would "probably" be pointed at my bed. Am I positioning it that way?

      Well, I'd imagine you want to see the time from your bed, and I'd also imagine this camera isn't on a swivel. As for the rest of it, why the fuck indeed. Why does an alarm clock need a camera and why would any one want this?

      • and I'd also imagine this camera isn't on a swivel.

        I don't either. I imagine it being a 360 degree camera or a good approximation.

    • Yes, they want pictures of you fucking and pictures of unicorns due to the high value imbued by the rarity.
    • I'm with you on this one - No company or organisation has ever lost any data to persons-unknown on the Internet, so whatever recordings or videos they happen to make, intentionally or otherwise are completely safe. Thinking about it, no company has ever been found using 'production data' for testing purposes, or just 'employee browsing' either. Yep, double-safe. Where do I sign up?

    • Hmm... not just you but it appears that Amazon now wants to corner the market on amateur pr0n live streams. It'll be an Amazon Prime Add-On ( like their $6.99/mo. Anime Strike channel.)

      Amazon truly wants be the King of Online Entertainment Content.

    • I'm not sure why it would "probably" be pointed at my bed.

      Because the camera is on the same face as the clock.
      Most people face the clock towards the bed so they can read it.

  • child sex offender laws what will amazon do so that any thing near that comes on to there network?

  • Already have that (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Isn't it the same thing when people have their cell phones on and having it in their bedroom as an alarm clock? This is becoming way out of hand. More devices, always-on microphones and cameras.

    Multiple devices = multi-camera angles!! Great.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      In most cases the camera will either point up at a ceiling or point down at some surface. Your cell phone also has an incentive not to spy on you - power consumption would make it unmarketable.

    • No, because one camera is face down and the other is pointing at the ceiling. I mean seriously, investing any thought at all would have kept you from posting that.
      • When iPhones phones start coming with 360 degree panoramic optics.... what then?
        • When iPhones phones start coming with 360 degree panoramic optics.... what then?

          We'll cross that bridge when we come to it?

        • Learn how a panarm is created and you'll realize that was a ridiculous question. The camera lenses aren't made with magic pixie dust. They don't suck in photons as they pass overhead. They can't see around corners. Unless your table holds the phone up and spins 360Â you'll be fine.
          • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

            The iPhone 8s comes with a built in singularity that sucks in passing photons. I read it on BGR.

          • Wow you are completely ignorant of modern technology.

            ....but amazingly you have the integrity to act like you know something.

            You can buy 360 degree panorama cameras OFF THE FUCKING SHELF at big box stores these days. For example, at Best Buy [bestbuy.com] you ignorant dishonest pretending fuck.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @09:03PM (#55273627)

    Most people who get to see the resulting movies aren't, though.

  • Instead of "Echo", they could have called it "E-Spot".

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @09:07PM (#55273645)

    Wow, how stupid have people gotten? You cant even trust companies iwth your SSN, you're going to leave these devices in your homes?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Even worse, in the throes of passion I normally yell out my social security number, in Spanish! Sofia thinks I'm describing what I'm doing to her, it just turns her on even more!!

  • how quaint
  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Thursday September 28, 2017 @09:28PM (#55273731) Homepage

    Camera in your bedroom?

    Please, some one hack these and publish it on the internet.

    Anyone stupid enough to buy this crap deserves to have the entire world laugh at them.

  • Well, let's see. Anyone who has a smartphone, tablet, or computer in their bedroom is already providing surveillance equipment for anyone who can hack their way in. I don't see how the Echo Spot is appreciably different.

    To me, the creepy thing about the whole connected house and voice-activated digital assistants is that they're always listening. I don't care so much if someone ogles me in the altogether or watches me having sex (they might learn something!), but I don't like the idea of people listening to

    • I don't see how the Echo Spot is appreciably different.

      It's different in two ways -- I imagine that most people don't have their phones propped up so the cameras can actually see the bed. They're probably lying flat on a nightstand where they have a great view of the ceiling.

      Also, most people's cell phones aren't operated by or in constant communication with Amazon.

      • You're right that cell phones aren't usually propped up so they can see the bed, but some people put their phones in charging cradles or stands to keep them upright.

        There are documented cases of people remotely activating laptop cameras to spy on people. School officials have spied on students in their bedrooms via school-issued laptops.

        It's not that hard for hackers to remotely seize control of computer cameras and microphones, and that would include the type of computer you carry in your pocket. Apps ofte

  • Want to send me money for my GoFundMe where I will probably invent different sizes and colors of electrical tape cut into specific shapes to fit the cameras on any device?

    • I can't imagine that would sell. People who are concerned about privacy aren't buying one of these things in the first place.

  • I'm not sure, will this device place a camera in my bedroom? they really should have capitalized every instance of . "CAMERA IN YOUR BEDROOM", "A CAMERA NEXT TO YOUR BED!!!"
  • .. will produce fake news of an anaconda on the loose....

  • So, Orwell was 40 years off on the date I already love Big Brother so I'm safe.
  • I predict there will be a rash of unplanned pregnancies by device-centric teenagers going "oh, so that's what you meant by 'put a sock on it'".

    Boy scout planning way ahead: "Echo, instructions for putting on a sock before sex."

    Echo: "On me? Or you?"

    Boy scout: "Pretend you've got your own sock already."

    Echo: "Okay, stick out your foot."

    Boy scout: "What?"

    Echo: "Consider your foot a model for your future manhood."

    Boy scout: "What's wrong with my present manhood?"

    Echo: "Can't tell you, cheap camera, no zoom."

  • ...the Echo Spot -- a little alarm clock with a camera that will probably be pointing directly at your bed.

    Joke's on them, I sleep on the floor.

  • ...if your unsuccessfully-suppressed squeak-farts make a sound like Sssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeery.

  • edging ever closer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by n3r0.m4dski11z ( 447312 ) on Friday September 29, 2017 @01:37AM (#55274577) Homepage Journal

    "If things continue this way, there will be two societies - or at least I hope there will be two - the one you're helping create, and an alternative to it. You and your ilk will live, willingly, joyfully, under constant surveillance, watching each other always, commenting on each other, voting and liking and disliking each other, smiling and frowning, and otherwise doing nothing much else."

    --- Dave Eggers, The Circle

  • by KozmoStevnNaut ( 630146 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {nvetskirneh}> on Friday September 29, 2017 @02:48AM (#55274737)

    Fuck no.

  • Just kidding. Ain't nothing going on in bed 'round these parts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 29, 2017 @03:44AM (#55274917)

    I'm currently living in Berlin.

    When people come up with Amazon Echo and its kind, I usually tell them: "You see, some time ago, the state would come into your flat, install some listening devices *at their cost* and even fix whatever damage to the wallpapers they could have made in the process. Nowadays *you* go out and shell out some money to get that."

    Those having been in Berlin before 1989 get this strange look on their faces and seem to understand.

    Stasi would have *killed* for having a live video stream on top of their listening bugs!

    There is a difference between The State and Amazon? Hm. That depends on... circumstances. Very volatile circumstances.

    (And no, I'm not particularly picking on Amazon: Google, Facebook, whatever are more of the same).

    • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
      This is spot on. Putting one of these in your house is like keeping a pile of milkbones in the backyard and being surprised when a pack of dogs show up. It's irresistible to an authoritarian, which is clearly where the US is headed if we don't do something about it.
      Surreptitious surveillance devices are like tossing gasoline on the fire.
  • 1984: Winston comments to himself, "There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug into your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live-did live, from habit that became instinct- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every m

  • I thought these devices were just a way to sneak a microphone in your house.
  • The Echo G-Spot camera, I mean alarm clock, is a revolutionary idea and will be a really useful addition to my Dot, which wakes me just nicely as it is. We need this new ancient device why again? Oh, yes, so Amazon can give bedroom advice, somewhat like the Echo Look does with wardrobes.
  • by mpercy ( 1085347 ) on Friday September 29, 2017 @08:02AM (#55275571)

    "Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig-iron. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely.

    “He thought of the telescreen with its never-sleeping ear. They could spy upon you night and day, but if you kept your head you could still outwit them. With all their cleverness they had never mastered the secret of finding out what another human being was thinking. . . . Facts, at any rate, could not be kept hidden. They could be tracked down by inquiry, they could be squeezed out of you by torture. But if the object was not to stay alive but to stay human, what difference did it ultimately make? They could not alter your feelings; for that matter you could not alter them yourself, even if you wanted to. They could lay bare in the utmost detail everything that you had done or said or thought; but the inner heart, whose workings were mysterious even to yourself, remained impregnable.”

    "It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself – anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called.

    And sure, Amazon is not the NSA, but if you think the NSA is not going to exploit this tech, well then I've got a bridge I can sell you...

  • ... to get a camera in your bedroom.

    FTFY.

  • Shoot, I already have tape over my laptop camera, have it disabled in the device manager. And now they want to introduce a camera in your bedroom? Oh a hacker FIELD DAY!
  • No.

  • That camera in the bedroom is a good way to pay it forward for all those who consume free online porn. It's about time people start contributing back.
  • People who are OK with these sorts of devices in their home probably aren't bothered by the addition of cameras, no matter where they are placed.

  • Amazon G-spot...erm...E-Spot
    https://www.amazon.com/Duck-29... [amazon.com]

    Seriously though people...after the ZOMG YOUR LAPTOP CAMERA IS SPYING ON YOU Apocalypse (ahem) people put tape or got fancy little sliding doors for their cameras. Why amazon isn't building that into something meant for the bedroom with a camera in it is beyond me...but it's not really THAT hard to fix.

    Related: I fully expect these will be hacked and some interesting videos posted. But it won't be the first time cameras have gotten into the bedr

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