Technology 4 min read

Amazon is Trying Social Commerce on for Size With the Echo Show

Pixinoo |

Pixinoo |

As Amazon Transitions To Social Commerce Edgy Labs Covers Security and Data-mining Concerns

As Edgy Labs discussed last week, social commerce tactics like producing “platform[s] for people to communicate” can seriously help your company.

Successful businesses like Wendy’s, the NBA, and the NFL are currently using this tactic with their social media managers and teams on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social sites.

Amazon Echo Show is the company's venture into social commerce.Click To Tweet

As Amazon works toward this personalized approach to their products with Alexa (see: Amazon Echo, Echo Tap, and Echo Dot), they’ve incorporated some interesting features in the new Amazon Echo Show

As Amazon claims: “Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things”.

Amazon Echo Show now boasts connections to applications like Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, WeMo, Uber, Allrecipes, CNN and more.


Amazon Echo Show |

Multiplatform connections aren’t the only feature of Echo Show, however. Amazon’s new device also gears itself toward an intimate user experience (similar to Google Home) with alarm clock settings, voice/video calling, lighting control, and other offline capabilities.

This innovative level of connection poses legitimate security and data taming concerns not fully addressed by Amazon’s Legal policies.

Security Concerns

Does Amazon’s text, voice, and video messaging offer end to end encryption?

Amazon employs Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) software to encrypt user information at the time of transmission.

At this time, it appears to be up to Amazon users to manage access to their consumer information by using “an advanced set of access, encryption, and logging features (such as AWS CloudTrail)”.

Does Amazon have the keys to decrypt this data? Will they give it up without a valid court order?

Amazon stores all data that it receives via customer input, but Amazon Web Services (AWS) assures its users:

They do not disclose customer’s data unless they’re forced to by law or court order and that Amazon notifies customers before any data is handed over so they can seek protection if need be.

Additionally,, Inc. participates in the EU-US Privacy Shield framework.


Harvard Business Review’s (HBR) research shows that most everyone understands companies are watching our digital behaviors. However, many people – despite their deep anxiety – are also “poorly informed about the specific types of data collected about them”.

Will Amazon datamine our communication and use it for their own marketing? Will they sell it to third-parties?

Amazon asserts customer data is an important part of their business and they are “not in the business of selling it to others”. However, Amazon does “receive and store” any data you send them.

Affiliated businesses and third-parties that work with Amazon to “fulfill orders, deliver packages, send postal mail and e-mail, remove repetitive information from customer lists, analyze data, provide marketing assistance, provide search results and links (including paid listings and links), process credit card payments, and provide customer service” also have access to your information.

How is aggregated data anonymized at Amazon? Are they using differential privacy like Apple?

Amazon’s Legal Policy states “they have access to personal information needed to perform their functions, but may not use it for other purposes”. At this time, it is unclear whether or not products like Amazon Show will be using the same differential privacy policies or data anonymization processes as Amazon Web Services (or Apple).

Despite this slight confusion, Amazon appears to be following best practices for data handling and privacy.

As HBR reports, companies that allow customers to exercise their right to manage their data are often rewarded with greater data access and brand loyalty; those who attempt to hide how they manage data lose their jobs.

Do you think Amazon is doing a good job of keeping their customer’s trust? Would you buy an Echo Show? Do you think Amazon needs to update their legal terms?

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