Echo, if you haven't heard, is basically Amazon's desktop version of Apple's Siri. It's a digital assistant that looks like a speaker and responds to voice commands. Call her, "Alexa," because she was programmed that way.
Marketed primarily for home use at $179, Alexa can do a lot of things. Play music, turn on appliances, read news stories, calendar events, set reminders, send messages, and even order products online.
Because of such conveniences, some lawyers are using the device for their law offices. After all, what personal assistant will do all those things for less than minimum wage, plus overtime?
Here are some points to consider:
1. Use This Then That
IFTTT (If This Then That) is an acronym that means Echo can learn. By feeding Alexa recipes of tasks, users can teach her to read documents, take dictation, re-order office supplies, send automated texts to stay on deadline, and even deposit money in the bank.
2. Security Plus or Minus
Security breaches are a great concern for lawyers in the digital age because hackers can compromise email, client files, and other electronically stored information on computers, laptops, smart phones, storage devices, and smart phones. On the other hand, Echo can enhance security with applications to safeguard and monitor an office remotely around the clock.
3. Maybe Turn It Off
Echo listens for commands 24/7 and those commands are stored by Amazon, at which point the data may be discoverable. You should probably mute or turn the device off when you are communicating confidential information.
4. Where or Where?
Protecting confidentiality is easier when recording devices are not around. So unless you are vigilant about using the mute button, Echo may be better in a room where confidential information is not communicated. Moreover, it is a crime to electronically eavesdrop so it may also help to have a posted advisory in rooms where it is used.
5. Use the Delete Function
Echo is always listening, sending information to Amazon for processing and responding when prompted. However, users can delete the information by logging in to their Echo app or Amazon account and managing recordings.
So if there is an Echo in your office, sometimes you may want to listen to what Alexa is doing, doing, doing.