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Dear Corporate Governess,

Our boss recently bought Alexa for Business [Amazon’s digital assistant] to help in the office.

It’s helpful but creepy. How worried should I be?

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— Jasmine R., Toronto

Dear Jasmine,

There’s a trade-off between whizz-bang technology that makes us more efficient and our right to privacy. “Retains voice inputs” is a fancy way of saying Alexa eavesdrops—and when she’s “awake,” she’s recording everything you say before sending it off to some cloud, far, far away. Listening is how she learns you like skinny lattes, as well as who your contacts are and where to reach them.

So it’s fair to question whether the boss is listening too, in the way that people with Alexa home devices can review their recordings. The good news, according to Amazon, is that with Alexa for Business, organizations can’t access any voice recordings or text transcripts of what a user has said. They also can’t see Alexa’s responses to users’ queries. But I’d ask HR to see a written policy on confidentiality. You can also turn off your microphone if you have a personal device and don’t want to play.

One warning for companies: Last year, researchers from China’s Zhejiang University tricked Alexa, Siri and other voice assistants by sending commands hidden in ultrasonic frequencies that are higher than we can hear.

Using the command to open the back door, they successfully hacked the navigation system on an Audi Q3.

Dear Corporate Governess,

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I referred a good friend for a job in my office but it has turned into a nightmare. Not only is he “borrowing” my ideas but he’s also helping himself to my tea. What can I do without hurting the friendship?

— Dani L., Waterloo

Dear Dani,

Friends who become jerks under certain circumstances are still jerks and should be treated as such. But it will take diplomacy if the relationship is to survive. First, separate the petty from what really matters.

You need to address the idea theft before it becomes habitual and he steals your next promotion, but don’t start by assuming malicious intent. Try something like, “When we discussed my idea for doing [insert idea] in the office, I didn’t expect you to present it as your own. What were you thinking?” That helps establish your boundaries, the same way you would with any colleague who crosses a line. Not confronting the issue allows the offence to fester, which could further damage any trust between you.

As for the tea: Gently suggest he bring some biscuits to share over the next pot.