We got an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas this year, which is a smaller version of the Echo. What a great gift!  It was fairly easy to set up and the very next morning we woke up to asking Alexa for the time, flash news, and some relaxing Christmas music. She even followed the news up with our local weather. Sweet!

Cyber HackerOther possible uses that might come in handy are connecting it to your bank account to hear your balance, ordering your dogs favorite treats on Amazon.com, getting traffic alerts for your commute, and connecting to smart devices in your home to control your lights or thermostat.

The Echo Dot also offers fitness data and health guidance by integrating with FitBit devices to easily get information on your daily statistics and KidsMD, an app to give parents medical advice for their children’s medications and other treatments.

But how secure is the Echo Dot? It does record and save all of your voice data , listening to you even when you aren’t talking directly to it. The data is sent to Amazon’s cloud servers, processed, and followed up by an answer or action. Using artificial intelligence, over time your voice and requests are analyzed, which helps Alexa to anticipate your wants and needs.

It’s a pretty amazing digital assistant for everyday tasks. However, there are some security risks that can arise with all of that stored data, as mentioned in the followed post by Gizmodo.com:

Amazon’s Alexa Is Not Even Remotely Secure and I Really Don’t Care

Alexa is burrowing itself deeper and deeper into owners’ lives, giving them quick and easy access not just to Spotify and the Amazon store, but to bank

Image from Wikimedia Commons

accounts and to do lists. And that expanded usability also means expanded vulnerability.

Devices that currently use Alexa—the Amazon Echo and Amazon Fire TV—can’t tell the difference between voices. Which means anyone who has access to your home has access to every single account you’ve linked to Alexa. Kids can reorder their favorite candy, friends can inquire about your bank balance, and roommates can waste your money on a lark.

Those risks are the cost of embracing the Internet of Things. In the pursuit of convenience we have to sacrifice privacy…and hope guests aren’t tacky enough to ask our live-in robot about our bank balance.

Read the full post here:  Amazon’s Alexa Is Not Even Remotely Secure and I Really Don’t Care

I guess this Twitter post pretty much says it all:

Apparently the Echo and Echo Dot were sold out well before Christmas and won’t be available until after the holiday season. The cost of an Echo is around $180, but the Echo Dot is only $50, making it a very popular affordable gift this year.

This post tells when each product will be back in stock:

Amazon Echo Sold Out: Where You Can Still Buy Echo Dot And When They’ll Be Back In Stock

Amazon Echo in black, priced at $139.99 will be in stock on Jan. 19, 2017.

The second generation Echo Dot in black, which costs $39.99, will be in stock just after Christmas on Dec. 27.

The Amazon Echo in white, also for $139.99, will be in stock on Dec. 30, the site says.

And, Alexa-enabled portable speaker, Amazon Tap, will be in stock on Dec. 27. That device is priced at $89.99.

Read more here:  Amazon Echo Sold Out: Where You Can Still Buy Echo Dot And When They’ll Be Back In Stock

This video is a review of the Amazon Echo Dot from the perspective of a young man. He received one for Christmas and does a fairly professional review of the uses for this personal assistant. Judging from his reaction when he asked Alexa for music, I guess either she hasn’t learned his preferences, or maybe it’s just that kids his age don’t like Christmas music:

If it makes you nervous that your voice commands are being recorded and analyzed, there are options. You don’t have to smash it with a hammer or throw it in a river. CNET provides the instructions on how to delete individual requests as well as how to delete the whole shebang:

Amazon Echo saves all your voice data. Here’s how to delete it – CNET

To delete specific recordings, go to the Amazon Echo app > Settings > History. You’ll see a list of all the requests you’ve made since setting up your Echo.

Amazon-Echo

From Wikimedia Commons

To delete a recording, tap it, then tap Delete voice recordings.

For those who don’t take chances, there’s a way to delete all voice data in one fell swoop. Head to www.amazon.com/myx, sign in, and click Your Devices. Select Amazon Echo, then click Manage Voice Recordings.

Read the original post here:  Amazon Echo saves all your voice data. Here’s how to delete it – CNET

We did see that people were selling Amazon Dot on Ebay for a significant markup. I guess if you wanted it bad enough, you could have gotten it for approximately three times the purchase price. If you can wait a short amount of time, though, you will be able to get it for the original cost.