Amazon Echo's calling feature includes a major privacy flaw

The only way to block someone right now is to turn the new feature off, a user discovers and reports.

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Mike Sorrentino is a Senior Editor for Mobile, covering phones, texting apps and smartwatches -- obsessing about how we can make the most of them. Mike also keeps an eye out on the movie and toy industry, and outside of work enjoys biking and pizza making.
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Mike Sorrentino

Amazon has added voice calls to its Echo speakers, but you can't block anyone from calling you.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Amazon Echo 's new voice calling feature rings home just like a landline phone. Only it appears you can't block callers.

Elise Oras discovered this after tweeting to Amazon's support team early Friday and wrote about the experience on Medium.

When she updated her Alexa app to add her contacts for calling, she expected to have the ability to remove a handful of them from being able to reach her through the Echo. But that wasn't the case.

"Instead, every contact that also has the Alexa app is now in my Alexa Calling contacts. Among my contacts were old landlords, many co-workers, random vendor account managers, city councilmen, and of course, crazy ex-boyfriends. And each one now has a direct line into my home," Oras wrote.

The one workaround she was offered by Amazon's support team was deleting the offending contact from her phone in order to also delete it from Alexa, which isn't a practical option as keeping the contact is often how someone can keep them blocked using other services.

She instead opted to turn the feature completely off (here's how), which an Amazon representative said is currently only possible through a phone call with customer support.

An Amazon representative says a software update introducing a call block feature will be available "in the coming weeks."

Watch this: Alexa introduces voice calling and messaging

Update, 6:52 p.m. ET:Adds comment from Amazon.