When Amazon introduced voice calling for its Echo devices, we criticized the company for seemingly rolling out the feature without really paying any mind to privacy. It was quickly discovered that users had no way of blocking calls and message to Echo products in their home, and Amazon promised to fix the oversight “in the coming weeks. Today it’s starting that effort. A just-released update to the Alexa app for iOS mentions “the ability to block contacts from calling and messaging you.”
The block feature can be added from the contacts list; you just scroll down, choose the person you don’t want to receive calls or messages from, and tap “block contact.”
I don’t yet see the block feature on the Android version of Alexa, but hopefully Amazon will update that app quickly so that everyone can have greater control over who has a quick line into their home. (You’re unable to block users from Alexa’s web settings, so the app is required.) Unfortunately, turning off calling/messaging functionality altogether is still too difficult for customers, as it requires a phone call to Amazon customer service. Ridiculous.