Amazon Fire Phone May Present Major Privacy Threat

Josh Evans Contributor
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The hype surrounding Amazon’s new Fire Phone may have overshadowed the significant risk of privacy invasion posed by one of the phone’s features, VentureBeat claims.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced the phone Wednesday, boasting about numerous innovative features including a 3-D display, head sensors and real-time identification of over 100 million objects through the new Firefly function. (RELATED: Amazon’s New Phone Is On Fire)

It’s the Firefly function that poses the potential privacy threat. The feature uses sound and images captured through the phone’s camera to identify products, songs, television and more, and provide users with the opportunity to buy them through Amazon.

The data collected over the course of the identification is then kept in Amazon’s cloud storage. For a frequent user of the service, this data could be used to create an in-depth profile which, at best, could be used for invasive targeted advertising and, at worst, could be utilized for surveillance.

Although Amazon also provides cloud storage for all photos taken with the phone’s camera application, Amazon has assured customers that storage for the camera app is separate from the Firefly service and will not be used in any way. Users also have the option to manually delete photos and recordings that they take with Firefly (and not the camera app), although they will be used by the service if not deleted.

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Josh Evans