Yesterday, Bloomberg dropped a bombshell report revealing that Amazon employs thousands of people around the world to listen to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices, and uses them to improve its Alexa digital assistant. “The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands,” the report says. “A screenshot reviewed by Bloomberg shows that the recordings sent to the Alexa auditors don’t provide a user’s full name and address but are associated with an account number, as well as the user’s first name and the device’s serial number.”
While many have assumed that this was already happening behind the scenes, it may still come as a surprise to see proof of the practice. Thankfully, there is a way to stop Amazon from listening to your Alexa recordings. Tom’s Guide explains: 1. In the Alexa app, access Settings. You’ll find this button at the bottom of the menu in the top left corner of the home screen.
2. Click on Alexa Account. This should be at the top of the page.
3. Select Alexa Privacy. You’ll be taken to Amazon’s external Alexa privacy page. You can review a number of things here, including our voice history, skill permissions, and other data settings.
4. Tap “Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa.”
5. Toggle “Help Develop New Features” and “Use Messages to Improve Transcriptions” to Off. Alexa will no longer learn and improve from your responses, but your recordings will be safe and sound.
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