Is Amazon's Alexa a video monitor?

This is piggybacking on the other thread about Cameras. I am currently sitting with a dog and cat. When I started the sit I asked if there were any cameras in the house. Mainly it is because I sleep naked and sometimes get up to let the dog out without putting all my clothes on. I also already had a bad experience with someone who had a camera and did not disclose it. The host confirmed there were no cameras on the property. After a few days, I realized there was an Amazon Alexa with a camera. Is this a RECORDING/MONITORING device? I have to admit I am not that savvy on all this stuff but I made it clear that I did not like being recorded/viewed. I really liked the host and she seems like someone who would be honest but because of my bad experience, I still feel weird about it. I looked through their guide and did not see any mention of a recording device but I also was not sure where that is supposed to be disclosed.

Thanks in advance for your help. I am a nature-loving Luddite :rofl:

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Yikes, I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience. That is for sure distressing.

It would depend on what kind of equipment they are using. There are a range of Amazon Echo’s that are capable of live video, though they do not record or save footage. This would not prevent a bad actor from recording the live footage using other technology.

It is possible the homeowner has not enabled or does not have the right equipment to allow for monitoring, but it is also possible that they do. You are in a difficult situation. I’m sorry this is happening. I has happened to us multiple times through THS as well and it’s a problem we wrestle with. If you want to know what we do let me know and I’d be happy to share.

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@SunshineAndAloha I will consider anything with a webcam and microphone a recording device. Like @plaidassfox posted the owner could use the device’s built-in camera to see what’s going on inside the house in real-time. These devices can not only be accessible by the owner but also by the vendor. In my opinion if these were not disclosed prior to the sit you should notify the THS customer care team. On our last sit 2 Echo devices were not disclosed in the online welcome guide but were mentioned in the house paper guide. One was in our bedroom and one in the bathroom. I promptly unplugged those right away.

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We do a check of the flat to see if there are any such devices for similar reasons. Quite a few of US citizens are using Alexa devices and don’t even mention it, now we just switch them off after asking the HO. PS: It might also help to specifically ask for “smart” devices and Alexa in the future. There doesn’t seem to be enough awareness about how intrusive those devices are even when the HO never uses them to monitor sitters.

I always make an inspection of the house and turn around or cover anything that looks like it might contain a camera. Then I don’t have to spend time worrying about it.

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Hello @SunshineAndAloha - I’ve just direct messaged you. Best, Vanessa

I’m glad you brought this up. I have a Google home but not with a camera. I’m not even sure if it can hear conversations or whatever. I ask questions and Google answers. Perhaps I should double check because I don’t want to mislead my sitter next week. Luckily, my son is a Googler so I’ll ask him what my Google home does since he got it for me. It may be listening to me for all I know… hmmm, to be continued…

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Thanks for the input everyone. I ended up unplugging it and hopefully, they will not be upset about it. Since they did not disclose it, I reasoned that it is fair for me to disable it, especially since it does have a camera on it.

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Thanks for feeding back @SunshineAndAloha and updating everyone. We will close this topic off now and leave you to enjoy your sit :slight_smile:

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