Today in "Cyberpunk is a warning, not a suggestion" news, Amazon has released a landlord edition of its Alexa surveillance speaker that can be forced upon tenants.

Here's Amazon's pitch: Landlord Alexa "makes it easy for property managers to set up and manage Alexa-powered smart home experiences throughout their buildings."

Satire is dead. Poe's Law rules all.


Landlord Alexa incorporates special commands that "let their residents pay rent, submit maintenance requests, and manage other things."

It also lets landlords "drop in" (Alexaspeak for "trigger the mic and camera") in their tenants' homes.

Amazon claims they've taken steps to prevent nonconsensual surveillance, but as Joanna Nelius writes for Gizmodo, there are so many trivial ways that landlords could circumvent Amazon's precautions.


It's as simple as adding themselves as a contact on the device before turning it over to you (indeed, this is so trivial that one must presume that Amazon either did no security analysis at all here, or that this is deliberate).

And of course, if you forget to set "Do Not Disturb" when you're not home, your landlord can just virtually "drop in" and surveil your residence without leaving any trace.


I am well aware that I wrote one of the definitive texts on how evil landlords could exploit IoT devices to torment their tenants (how could I forget when so many people sent me this story!), but honestly, Unauthorized Bread was not a pitch deck.


@pluralistic "and then short out two of its pins with a pair of tweezers while booting it"

totally not inspired by real events:

@pluralistic A bucket with a brick on top (and possibly a power decoupler) should fix that right up, no? 😄

@phf @pluralistic and probably some noise source to put underneath the bucket, should hinder the ai and the landlord in recognising any sounds.
i would probbably build a one way mirrored terarium with some noisy bugs for it 🦗🤣

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