Giving Attention to an Alexa Feature that Should be Turned Off

Currently, Amazon is enjoying the popularity of their Alexa products, which is bound to increase with the recent announcement of more Alexa devices becoming available for purchasing.  Yet, there is some concern regarding Amazon’s Echo Show and the Echo Spot regarding their video capabilities.  Specifically, there is an Alexa Feature that may seem to be beneficial but has the potential to become a big privacy feature.


Which Alexa Products Utilize the Drop-In Feature?

Usually, anyone who has a camera on their computer or laptop may put something over it over fear of someone accessing it.  Although the suggestion is not to do the same thing if you currently own an Echo Show (either version) or the Echo Spot, it would be wise to at least learn about the drop in communication feature that both products have and then decide if it is worth keeping on; this was covered in a recent article by Monica Chin and appeared on the Tom’s Guide website.

While Amazon’s Alexa can be found and utilized on many of their products as well as on other devices, Alexa has chiefly been used on the Echo Dot, Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Show and the Echo Plus.  However, the two products that the drop in feature comes into play is the Echo Show and the Echo Spot.

The Echo Show and the newer version is more than a speaker but has a built-in camera and a nice sized screen to view videos as well as making video phone calls.  The Echo Spot has a camera and a screen like the Echo Show, which means you can make a video phone call that put’s the face of the person you are speaking with on your screen and your face appears on their screen; the major difference is the screen size and shape is smaller.


Drop-In Communication Feature is Creative and Creepy

When making a video call to an individual, the receiver of the call must give permission to access their device’s camera for the call to go through; the same must be acknowledged by the sender for their face to be seen.  Making the call to someone on your contact consistently can be time-consuming in always having to go through the same process; the Drop-In feature allows for these calls to be made unsolicited.

Once this feature is enabled, anyone that is listed on your contacts can easily drop in and see whatever your device sees.  This can easily lead to embarrassing situations, such as if you are disciplining your children, getting dressed or undressed as well as other things that you would wish to keep from prying eyes.   

Growing up, I can remember watching the futuristic cartoon, The Jetsons, wondering if I would see the day where cars could fly and being able to make a video phone call for real.  Now that it has become a reality, it is important to realize how this could become an invasion of privacy issue; therefore, it would be advisable to know how to turn this feature on as well as how to protect your privacy.


The Drop-In feature does have its uses, especially if you don’t already have a security cam.  Creatively, it would give the user the opportunity to check in on their pets or making sure the kids are behaving themselves.  Unfortunately, having the feature on that would allow anyone on your contact list to open your device is creepy as well as scary.  Users of these Alexa devices need to give the Drop-In feature the attention it deserves and decide whether it is worth turning it on.