BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -Do you have an Amazon Alexa? Millions of Echo devices have been sold. Did you know they record your conversations? The good news is you can control it.
Earlier this year, Amazon admitted it’s recording your Alexa Echo conversations to improve performance. Bloomberg reports Amazon has thousands of employees worldwide who are listening then transcribing the recordings to help it better respond to commands.
“The problem is users were not being notified that their sample of their speech patterns were being sent to real Amazon employees to be able to naturalize their speech patterns for better recognition,” a cyber security expert with Yturus said.
As a result, Amazon says it’s now deleting conversations to ease consumer privacy concerns. You can order your voice-controlled assistant to “delete everything I said today”. Until now, you had to go into the app to delete Alexa recordings one by one or go through Amazon’s website to do it.
This also comes after two class action lawsuits were filed against Amazon. The lawsuits claim the Alexa-enabled devices were recording childrens’ conversations without their consent or their parents’ permission which is illegal in a handful of states.
Hill says companies like Amazon are also using the data they collect for advertising purposes
“Companies are using this data to do direct marketing to you…but that brings up many privacy concerns..what are they recording? What profiles are they building about you?” Hill asked.
In this digital age, giving up some of your privacy is sometimes necessary in order to use certain products and services but Hill says its ultimately up to you how much information you’re willing to share. He says its best to think twice before giving up any of your information because you never know who may be listening…
“Many of these devices give you the options to disable tracking, to disable the recording, to disable those notifications and also the ability for it to predict what you are looking for. By removing those settings or disabling those settings you can begin to control a bit more on your own privacy,” Hill said.
You can also say “Alexa, delete what I just said” and that should erase your conversation. Amazon is also launching the Alexa privacy hub which allows you to find out how the system works and learn about its privacy controls.
You can find out more information about the privacy hub here.