ARTICLE

New Home "Amazon Experience Centers" Are Really Amazon Home Surveillance Centers

News Image By Activist Post November 13, 2019
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For those of you who miss the good old days when government spies used to bug people's homes, I give you "Amazon Experience Centers": new homes pre-equipped with a mind-boggling array of listening devices.

Amazon's 'Experience Centers' tagline, "Try smart home devices in person and see how Amazon can simplify your everyday" is less about simplification and more about home surveillance.

As NPR notes, builders like Lennar Homes have pre-installed Amazon smart devices in at least 45,000 new homes this year alone with Miami and San Francisco being some of the larger hubs for smart home development.


In the good old days of Cold War espionage, spies relied on putting listening devices in a couple of things like phones and lamps. But now people are purchasing Lennar's new homes that come equipped with numerous monitoring devices in every room.

Drew Holmes said, "I would not live without them."  His favorite is a Ring doorbell that logs visitors. "I have teenagers," he said. "It's nice to confirm when they come home. And I have proof of it."

Amazon's and Lennar's slogans, "Welcome To Your Connected Home" and "Everything's Included(r), and every room's connected" is really about collecting personal information about everyone that lives in or visits there homes.

31 ways smart home devices monitor families:

Smart home surveillance devices know when you drive or walk up to your home
Smart home surveillance devices know when you open your garage door
Smart home surveillance devices know when you open you front door
Smart home surveillance devices know when you turn on the lights
Smart home surveillance devices know when you turn use your thermostat
Smart home surveillance devices know when to turn on your HVAC vents
Smart home surveillance devices know when you open your refrigerator
Smart home surveillance devices know when you make coffee
Smart home surveillance devices know when you use your oven
Smart home surveillance devices know when you use your toaster
Smart home surveillance devices know when you use your microwave oven
Smart home surveillance devices know when you use your grill
Smart home surveillance devices know when you use your crock-pot


Smart home surveillance devices know when you use your blender
Smart home surveillance devices know when you use a salt shaker
Smart home surveillance devices like smart plugs turn household devices into smart devices
Smart home surveillance devices know when you turn on your faucets
Smart home surveillance devices know when you use the toilet
Smart home surveillance devices know when you use your bathtub
Smart home surveillance devices know when you brush your teeth
Smart home surveillance devices know when you brush your hair
Smart home surveillance devices know when you trim your beard
Smart home surveillance devices know when you do laundry
Smart home surveillance devices know when you vacuum your home
Smart home surveillance devices know when you close or open your blinds
Smart home surveillance devices know when you use your water sprinklers
Smart home surveillance devices know when you your kids ride their bicycles or scooters
Smart home surveillance devices know every conversation that is going on inside your home
Smart home surveillance devices know what your kids are watching on the internet
Smart home surveillance devices know what you watch on your television or what music you listen to
Smart home surveillance devices know who they are taking videos or pictures of and they can identify your pets

Amazon congratulates people for buying a Lennar-designed connected home where "all smart home products in your new home will be activated and supported by Amazon and voice controlled by Alexa."

Of course Amazon wants to congratulate new home owners for giving them access to everyone's personal lives. I am, however, a little surprised that they aren't offering them discounts to purchase more smart devices.

Having Amazon control almost every facet of a family's daily life is a privacy disaster waiting to happen. As NPR warned,

Therron Smith works in tech, and says that's how he knows the risks. It's not just cameras, even light switches capture information. That data's not just sitting there, just... empty, he says. Somebody's gonna look at it and leverage it, to try to turn a profit, or try to create an ad, or try to create some revenue.


Imagine the vast amounts of data that smart homes and smart devices will collect on every family member over a 5-10 year span. Amazon's Web Services will have access to terabytes of data on each family member that can be sold or exploited.

Imagine applying for a job in the future and being told you spend too much time playing video games and watching TV. Imagine health insurance companies raising your rates because you use your microwave oven too much and don't eat enough healthy foods.

These are a few examples of the dangers of Amazon Home Surveillance Centers, as I like to call them; collecting all kinds of personal information.  

Imagine such information being merged into something like China's social credit system where every action is recorded and scrutinized to make you comply with the whims of state policy.

As a recent Amazon press release warns, "today's customers can choose from more than 85,000 Alexa-compatible products designed for every room and outdoor space around their homes, with new brands and devices being added every week."

Many like to think their home is the last vestige of privacy from which they can shield themselves from the world.  The temptation of trading privacy for convenience often wins out and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Originally published at Activist Post - reposted with permission.




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