Apscitu masthead.
Apscitu motto.

Expert IT News Article tab.

Big Brother Is Watching You image, Soviet Chairman Joseph Stalin photo, Google founder Sergey Brin with glasses photo, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos with glasses photo, NSA seal, Google logo, Amazon logo.

Big Brother Bezos and Amazon's Alexa, Blink, Echo, Eero, Fire, Kindle, Ring

By Duane Thresher, Ph.D.          December 7, 2021

1984 was published by George Orwell (pen name of Eric Arthur Blair) in 1949. It describes a world where society is run by a totalitarian government; actually three police states pretending, by mutual agreement, to continually be at war with one or another so they can deny individual rights by claiming a protective state of emergency, like has been done with Coronavirus. To further control the populace, privacy has been destroyed by installing cameras, microphones, screens, and speakers everywhere, including in every room of everyone's home, so that, at all times, everyone can be told what to think and everything everyone says or does can be known by the government, represented by a man known as Big Brother, to make it seem protectively familial. Signs everywhere say "Big Brother Is Watching You". Orwell, in 1949, clearly meant this as a condemnation of the Soviet Union (now Russia), represented by mass-murderer Chairman Joseph Stalin, but there has been much speculation about who this could be these days. I have myself on Apscitu speculated that Big Brother could be Google, represented by Russian-born Google founder Sergey Brin, particularly given Google's collaboration with the National Security Agency (NSA) to invade the privacy of Americans. Here though, just in time for Christmas, I describe how Big Brother could be Amazon, represented by founder Jeff Bezos, given Amazon's heavily-advertised privacy invasion system of, from A to Z (Amazon's logo), Alexa, Blink, Echo, Eero, Fire, Kindle, and Ring, as well as given its collaboration with the NSA and other agencies.

Like a frog who will jump out when put into already boiling water, but will boil to death if slowly brought to a boil, you probably don't realize it, but Amazon has already committed the largest invasion of privacy in history. It knows and remembers forever, from A to Z (Amazon's logo), including the embarrassing and incriminating stuff, much of what hundreds of millions of people worldwide have purchased over the last 30 years. Items like books and videos, which tell a lot about you (political persuasion, religion, sexual orientation, race, etc.), and prescriptions, which indicate what diseases you have and how much of a risk you are to health insurance companies. Amazon definitely takes notice of this information — every time you are on the Amazon website that's how its recommendations are made. If the government tried to get this information on its own, it would be barred by law from doing so. Until recently, you couldn't even sue Amazon over this; see Amazon Covers Up Return of Your Right to Sue Them.

Think Amazon, which gives you all those seemingly great deals, would never collaborate with the government in spying on you? In Sep 2020, during the height of the Coronavirus Scare, notorious former NSA Director Keith Alexander was quietly appointed, probably by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos himself, to Amazon's Board of Directors. While NSA Director, Alexander was described as the "most powerful intelligence chief in the nation's history" and his stated intelligence-gathering strategy was "collect it all". Keith Alexander was Director of the NSA for nine years, Aug 2005 – Mar 2014, and was the reason Edward Snowden hacked the NSA in 2013, to reveal to Americans that the NSA was spying on them. Alexander left the NSA because of this disclosure. Now Alexander has the perfect place to continue his "collect it all" strategy.

Consider too that in Aug 2021 the NSA awarded Amazon a $10 billion secret cloud computing contract (code-named "WildandStormy"), to keep all that was collected. In 2013, Amazon had been awarded a similar $600 million contract by the CIA, which was hacked by Edward Snowden in 2012 to reveal to Americans that the CIA was spying on them, and in 2020 the CIA awarded a similar multibillion dollar contract (code-named "C2E") to Amazon.

And now Amazon has developed a whole system of 1984 devices, including software, some of which you don't even know are made by Amazon, but all of which Amazon heavily advertises, on its website and in TV commercials; remember, this is just in time for Christmas. By "system of 1984 devices, including software", I, with a B.S. from MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, mean Amazon-made devices like cameras, microphones, screens, and speakers, including software, that all work together to invade your, including your kids', privacy and tell you, and your kids, what to think, just like in 1984. Amazon even has its own lab for this, Lab126 (from A, letter 1, to Z, letter 26; Amazon's logo), which allows Jeff Bezos and Keith Alexander to direct development of these devices and software, i.e. to direct development of the whole 1984 system.

Proceeding from A to Z (Amazon's logo), the first, and most prominent, part of Amazon's 1984 system is Alexa, which is software running on computers/devices and so doing what they can do, but also communicating with and controlling other computers/devices. Alexa is advertised by Amazon as a virtual assistant, a helpful, even protective, household family member.

Alexa accepts voice commands and responds with a voice. If Jeff Bezos is the face of Big Brother , Alexa is Big Brother's voice. If that sounds gender confused, note that Alexa's voice, via speaker, does not have to be feminine, it can be set to be masculine; actor Samuel L. Jackson's voice for example.

Alexa is all about voice, i.e. speech. Alexa is essentially just speech synthesizing and speech recognition software. Speech recognition means that Alexa has to listen, via microphone, to all speech at all times, supposedly waiting to hear its trigger word, Alexa (or Amazon), before doing anything. Let me repeat that, in a scary voice: Alexa listens to every word you, and your kids, say, every second of every day, in your home and in your car.

So what, you say, in an unconcerned voice, thinking what you say stays in your home, or car, even if on computer. But it doesn't. Without your knowledge or informed consent, anything and everything you, and your kids, say, at any time, can be sent and kept forever in the cloud, supposedly just so Amazon can improve speech recognition, or can be sent to anyone, like complete strangers (e.g. pedophiles), law enforcement, or the NSA.

Big Brother Bezos is listening.

Alexa can respond to factual questions, using Wikipedia as a starting point. If using Wikipedia weren't bad enough, Amazon can make Alexa put any slant (political, etc.) it wants on the answer.

Big Brother Bezos says.

There have been numerous outrageous proven instances of all of this and they are always dismissed as a "rare occurrence" by Amazon.

Don't blink. Blink is a home security company that makes wireless home security cameras, indoor and outdoor, and systems. Not shown in its TV commercials is the fact that Amazon owns Blink. What is shown is that you can remotely view the camera feeds away from your home, like at work, to, for example, watch your kids at home. But this also means Amazon, as well as hackers, can view these camera feeds. It will only be a matter of time before Amazon integrates Alexa with Blink cameras, if it hasn't already, covertly.

Big Brother Bezos is watching.

Amazon Echo is a line of wireless smart speakers, with microphones, heavily advertised on Amazon's website. Smart means computer and in fact, Echo was the first to run Alexa software. The Echo Dot is the prototypical computer/device, and includes Echo Dot Kids, so Amazon can listen in and talk to your children. Tap is a portable Echo that was discontinued and is my favorite because the name Tap sounds like it is from the law enforcement term for covertly listening in; perhaps why it was discontinued. The Echo Look came with a camera, but was discontinued, probably because it obviously came with a camera, which scared consumers away. The Echo Show comes with a display; it also comes with a camera, but not obviously so. Echo Frames are smartglasses like, but more advanced, Google Glass, which got Google, particularly founder Sergey Brin , in trouble; Amazon is not getting into trouble because they don't hype their smartglasses like Google did.

Big Brother Bezos is listening and watching.

Echo Plus came with a wireless hub, to connect wireless computers/devices to each other in the home, but was discontinued. Eero is a company that makes wireless home mesh routers and was quietly bought by Amazon, around the time the Echo Plus was discontinued. Besides connecting wireless computers/devices to each other in the home, a wireless mesh router can easily, so often automatically by default, connect to all other wireless mesh routers around it. Normal home routers, while connecting computers/devices to each other in the home, only connect to the router of the Internet Service Provider (ISP). If your neighbors — wireless mesh routers are often touted as wireless range extenders — have Eero routers, you could be unknowingly connected to them, and Amazon via their ISP, even if you don't have an ISP (you still might have a router to connect computers/devices to each other in your home).

Big Brother Bezos is listening and watching even when you think you are offline.

Fire is Amazon's line of tablet computers. They were originally called Kindle Fires (get the pyro references?) because they started as Amazon's line of e-readers, Kindle. Of course there is also Fire for Kids (get it, kids playing with fire?). Alexa now runs on Fire computers, with all that implies from above. Most people use their computers to access the Web, and as law enforcement has amply demonstrated, what you look at on the Web can tell a lot about you. Most people also use their computers to do email, which obviously can tell a lot about you, as amply demonstrated by law enforcement and the NSA. Via Fire, Amazon has access to all of this.

Big Brother Bezos knows what you are thinking.

Kindle is Amazon's heavily-advertised line of e-readers, i.e. computers/devices for reading e-books, e-magazines, e-newspapers, etc. In particular, Amazon pushes its e-books, Kindle Books, by making sure that all popular books advertised on Amazon's website come in both paper and, not that much cheaper, Kindle versions, with the latter often the default. If you read through the reviews of a book, you will find that many of the negative reviews are about how badly formatted the Kindle version is. Unfortunately, if you get the paper book, it will usually come damaged. Amazon doesn't actually sell new books anymore, although it charges new book prices. The only way Amazon can afford to offer free 30-day returns is by sending out as new, books that have been read, often damaged, and returned.

As explained, like many other items you get on Amazon, when you buy a book, Amazon now has a permanent record of a purchase that can tell a lot about you.

Big Brother Bezos knows what you are thinking.

Conversely, Amazon can tell you what to think, via its recommendations of books and videos. With Kindle, Amazon can also steer you to read what news it wants you to read, via recommended e-magazines and e-newspapers. This could be worse than Google and Facebook having this power.

Big Brother Bezos says.

Ring is a home security company, most (in)famous, via its TV commercials, for its video doorbell, which includes a camera, microphone, and speaker. Ring also offers other indoor and outdoor cameras. Not shown in its TV commercials is the fact that Amazon owns Ring, and that it works with Alexa, with all that implies from above. In fact, Ring is like Blink but worse. Ring comes with a mobile app, Neighbors, that allows sharing the video feeds online, including on social media and with law enforcement (advertised as a protective Neighborhood Watch). Hackers could access these video feeds. Amazon certainly has access.

Big Brother Bezos is watching.

Amazon's logo means from A to Z. "I am the Alpha and the Omega" — the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, meaning the beginning and the end — said God, omniscient and omnipotent, all-knowing and all-powerful, in the Book of Revelation. Just in time for Christmas.