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[liberationtech] Fwd: Now Anyone Can Create Their Own Personalized Alexa Skill in Just Minutes

Phil Shapiro pshapiro at
Thu Apr 19 12:27:54 PDT 2018

Thanks for the thoughts and pointer to, Thomas. I ought to look into 
to learn more about its capabilities. As you say, open source, by its nature, tends to be less malevolent 
than proprietary solutions. Open source doesn't have the profit-motive agenda lurking in the background. 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Thomas Delrue" <thomas at> 
To: "liberationtech" <liberationtech at>, "Phil Shapiro" <pshapiro at> 
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2018 3:00:56 PM 
Subject: Re: [liberationtech] Fwd: Now Anyone Can Create Their Own Personalized Alexa Skill in Just Minutes 

(Dropping mailinglists other than LibTech...) 

On 04/19/2018 09:22 AM, Phil Shapiro wrote: 
> I do not own an Alexa device and am wary of privacy issues in 
> general. 

If /you're/ wary of privacy issues, then why encourage others to use it? 

> At the same time, I think there are ways of using this device that do 
> not raise privacy concerns. 

I think you're wrong; I don't think there is a way to use this device in 
a way that does not raise privacy concerns, at all. The same is true for 
Google Home. 
Just like malware tries to establish persistence on your machines, these 
devices exist to establish persistence for their true owners - which 
ain't you. The parallels with malware go further than that, but I'll 
leave it there... 

If you really must do something like this, consider Mycroft 
(; ) 
enclosed as a picroft (; it's 
not ideal, it still reaches out to someone else's servers, but at least 
it's open source, it's a start... and you can modify it to prevent it 
from doing that. 

There's a repository of skills, written in Python, over here: 


Phil Shapiro, pshapiro at 

"Wisdom begins with wonder." - Socrates 
"Learning happens thru gentleness." 

"We must reinvent a future free of blinders so that we can choose from real options." David Suzuki 

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