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Challenge/response skill?

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Challenge/response skill?
« on: December 28, 2017, 12:50:23 pm »
I love the home automation aspects of Echo/Alexa. I really like the idea of being able to say, "Alexa- unlock the front door" once my video doorbell has shown me that a friend is at my door. But there's a dangerous side to this... On a cool autumn evening, when we're sleeping with the windows open, someone with malicious intent could go up to a window and give that same voice command. (I suppose it could even work through a closed window.) I could come up with several more likely examples (and others on this forum could probably think of many more) where it makes sense to have Alexa confirm that the person giving the voice command is authorized to do so...
"Alexa, order a pizza." (Command given by a teenage child who was instructed to eat the salad in the fridge.)
"What's the passphrase?"
"Ummm... green zebra?"
"I'm sorry, I can't do that."
One really good derivative of such a skill would be to give Alexa two passphrases with different results...
"Alexa, unlock the door."
"Please provide the passphrase."
If the passphrase is "space shuttle", the door unlocks, but if the passphrase is "mint julep", Alexa silently dials 911 before unlocking the door.

For those who have developed skills, is something like this possible? Or is it something Amazon would have to add?

Re: Challenge/response skill?
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2017, 08:30:16 am »
This is a flaw on your scenario:

If the passphrase is "space shuttle", the door unlocks, but if the passphrase is "mint julep", Alexa silently dials 911 before unlocking the door.

There is no need for Alexa to unlock the door if password is wrong just let her call 911. Anyway your scenario won't happen. My echo is deaf. So the thief would be screaming real loud for alexa to hear. I would imagine the neighbors will be alarmed by it.

Plus, the passphrase is really not a solution. ANYONE can still hear you say the passphrase. LOL. WTF.

You are better off with that BT door locks I seen. It automatically locks your door as you approach it coz it detects your phone BT on your pocket or hands or wherever your phone is with you. No password needed.

Re: Challenge/response skill?
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2017, 10:09:05 am »
Youíre totally missing the point. On multiple levels. The alternate password is a trigger that says, ďI am under duress.Ē
If youíre at your front door and someone has a gun in your back, he may just kill you if you donít unlock the door. Better to let him in, knowing that the police will be there soon and will find him still in your home, unaware that Alexa called 911.

In that same scenario, where you advocate unlocking the door via the presence of your phone, you have to come up with some other way of notifying the police while an armed intruder is in your home with a gun pointed at you!

As for someone hearing the passphrase, you could obviously change it as often as necessary. And I donít see how your defective Echo has any relevance to the discussion. Duh - Replace it if itís ďdeafĒ.

Offline kevb

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Re: Challenge/response skill?
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 10:47:02 am »
This has been brought up many times. Alexa is not a security device. It cannot dial 911 at this time. I doubt any dispatchers would want it to. Too many false calls. If you need something like you are describing, get a monitored security system.

Re: Challenge/response skill?
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2017, 10:58:43 am »
I understand where youíre coming from, kevb, but the scenario of being under duress and sending Alexa a special voice command that would seem normal/non-threatening to an intruder would be a very useful skill. I guess Iíll have to approach it from the Home Assistant side.