The resulting backlash and legal ramifications would be so huge it just wouldn't be worth it. It wouldn't just take an insane and stupid CEO to do that, but also thousands of other tech/adops employees who'd have to be like, "yea this is a great idea."
1. Get people addicted to technology X.
2. Keep bugging people using technology X to surrender their privacy using classical dark patterns.
There is no need for whistleblowers. It's all done in the open. You have already willingly surrendered your communications, your 24/7 location, your knowledge searches, your financial transactions, your media interests and your genetic material. Why not surrender the privacy of your home as well? Yes/AskMeLater.
An Echo, or similar dross is a closed box controlled OTA, and networked. Even if someone had immense faith in company X, it would be unwise to ignore intelligence and law enforcement both foreign and domestic wanting access. You can’t root Alexa, it won’t even work without the cloud. It really does feel like training wheels for something entirely unpleasant, and all because people are so helpless in the face of dubious convenience and fashion.
Even worse: when always-on surveillance devices become popular enough that a judge could rule that the technology (in the abstract, not a specific product) is "in general public use" - crossing the bright-line rule created in Kyllo v United States - the police no longe4r need a warrant to use the technology see the "details of a private home that would previously have been unknowable without physical intrusion".
I'm not talking about the police being involved with Amazon or using the Echo. When a technology is "in general public use", the police can use their own always-on microphone to transmit previously-private speech to a 3rd party on the internet. Normalizing surveillance devices not harms the person using the device, it also reduces *everyone's 4th Amendment protection.
 Used throughout the ruling, but especially section II of Justice Stevens' dissent.
 The ruling, 2nd paragraph
I remember a Romanian politician and member of Parliament complaining about the local telecom providers displaying the GSM location data on the phones’ screens sometime back in 2002 and 2003, I remember of laughing at his ludicrous (that’s how I viewed it at the time) complaint, I mean, he was a stupid politician while I was a CS student, couldn’t he see how cool it was to see your neighborhood name on your Nokia 3110’s screen? Of course that the stupid politician was right and I and the fellow technophiles like myself were wrong.
Just because something is ultra high risk, stupid, illegal and abuses consumers isn't apparently enough of a reason for large corporates not to do it.
Edit: codename SOMALGET, subproject of MYSTIC. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MYSTIC_(surveillance_program)#...
Spy agencies spy. It's their job description.
The what now?
1) whistleblowing unlikely because any employee that steps out of line can and will be destroyed
2) any media fuss will blow over in a few days
3) promotions and bonuses require outsize risks
I think everyone has a point in their career when they realise large tech companies are unaccountable before the law. Mine was watching the MERS database running roughshod over American property ownership laws.
Everything can be explained away with "we discovered a bug that might cause your unit to record you constantly, but it's fixed now. Won't happen again, sorry!"
Are you sure? I don't seem to remember too much backlash from this, which was pretty similar:
Or this more recent story:
> However, Apple's practice of sharing Siri data with third parties [to provide and improve Siri, Dictation, and dictation functionality] is perfectly legal and outlined in Apple's iOS Software License Agreement, which Siri users are required to accept.
And of course the second article is an isolated case of human error. Nothing to do with violating privacy for profit.