This was achieved on the 2nd generation version of the Echo Dot by Jessica Hyde of Magnet Forensics in 2017 using a method know as In-System Programming or ISP and allowed for the full extraction of data from the flash storage of the device.
That’s evidenced by the fact that most smart speakers like the Echo Dot now include some form of physical button for disabling the microphone. Today, Dell laptops like the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 include a function key to disable the mic, though it doesn’t disappear from the Device Manager as HP’s laptop webcam does.
A coalition of 19 consumer and privacy groups plans to file a complaint Thursday alleging that Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition is illegally collecting voice recordings and other identifying information on users under 13 and that the system’s parental controls are flawed.
For example, the Privacy Notice discloses that Amazon collects “search term and search result information from some searches conducted through the Web search features offered by our subsidiary, Alexa Internet,” but it does not say whether it does so when a child is using the Echo Dot Kids Edition.
SLU is quick to note that it’s “the first college or university in the country to bring Amazon Alexa-enabled devices, managed by Alexa for Business, into every student residence hall room and student apartment on campus.” It’s certainly not the first to adopt Amazon’s smart speakers, but it’s among the largest scale for this sort of deployment.