Recently Amazon unveiled a new robot to move around your home, and it is a loyal monitoring tool for you. The robot called Astro, may monitor an elderly family member, warn you if the stove is left unintentionally, and many other purposes and tasks it can perform Astro perfectly.
With big, round eyes, the twinkle comes from Astro, but privacy experts say consumers should be aware that those eyes may not be real, and may be a surveillance tool.
“One of my big concerns about this new wave of technology that Amazon launched this week is that it will introduce more data collection at scale,” says Matthew Gariglia, policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They can get it from a robot roaming your house?”
Amazon introduced the Astro robot on Tuesday, which is available by invitation only at the moment, and costs $1,000, and the price is expected to jump to $1,450 when it is released on a larger scale.
Amazon says the smart home robot, a type of Alexa on wheels, can monitor family members and young adults, and be present for anything Alexa might need, such as voice control of the lights. Also to drive the robot and see what it sees.
And while Astro serves as a test for whether we want robots circling our homes, it’s also another example of an Amazon product that stretches the boundaries of privacy, raising questions about the pros and cons of increased monitoring. It’s not even the first Amazon product designed to navigate your home. The retail giant has unveiled its Always Home Cam, a Ring-capable security camera.
Guariglia says the ability to drive a robot is a game-changer, giving Amazon more opportunities to collect data, and potentially also giving police a new way to see what’s inside your home.
And law enforcement can already file a search command on Amazon – not you – to access data recorded by fixed devices like Echos and webcams, and according to Amazon’s latest biannual information request report, law enforcement agencies around the world have submitted a total of 30,000 information requests. , including subpoenas, court orders and court orders, with the company in the first six months of this year.
Guariglia says that if an injunction covers Astro, the bot could theoretically become a mobile surveillance device for law enforcement, and like any other connected device, Astro is another opportunity for cybercriminals to breach the bot and steal its data.