In an update about Amazon’s Echo Show product, the retail giant mentions that Alexa users will now be able to control their privacy and delete Alexa audio recordings.
In a May 29 press release, Amazon wrote that it updated Alexa to delete recordings.
“Amazon is also introducing new, even easier ways to delete your voice recordings on all Alexa-enabled devices—simply say, ‘Alexa, delete everything I said today’ and the respective recordings will be deleted,” Amazon wrote. “Coming soon, customers will also be able to delete their last request by saying, ‘Alexa, delete what I just said.’ The new Alexa Privacy Hub also offers a single source of information on how Echo devices are designed and the controls you have over your Alexa experience.”
According to the Alexa Privacy Hub, all interactions with Alexa are encrypted in transit to Amazon’s cloud where they are securely stored. “You’ll always know when Alexa is recording and sending your request to Amazon’s secure cloud because a blue light indicator will appear or an audio tone will sound on your Echo device,” states the Alexa Privacy Hub page. “Echo smart speakers have a microphone off button that electronically disconnects the microphone.”
The webpage also directs Alexa users to information on how they can review their voice recordings, manage their skill permissions with third-party vendors, such as booking a restaurant, manage their smart home device history and review all of their privacy settings.
The new hub page also has a “common questions” tab for users regarding Alexa’s privacy settings.
According to the common questions page, when a user speaks to Alexa, the request is sent to Amazon. “A recording of what you asked Alexa is sent to Amazon’s cloud, where we process your request and other information to respond to you,” the common questions page states. “For example, when you ask, “Alexa, play top hits from Amazon Music,” we receive the recording of your request and information from Amazon Music to play top hits.”
While many people are wary of smart home devices and personalized advertisements via listening in on conversations, Amazon is trying to make privacy more apparent and an option in their smart home devices.
According to the Washington Post, Amazon has previously provided tools in the Alexa app and on its website to erase those recordings.
“The change to make deleting recordings easier comes with criticism of Amazon and other smart-speaker manufacturers escalating in recent months as consumers purchase more of the devices and integrate them into their homes,” the Washington Post reported. “Earlier this month, a coalition of 19 consumer groups accused Amazon of illegally collecting voice recordings and other identifying information on users under 13 with its Echo Dot Kids Edition.”
Time will tell if consumers still want to have Alexa in their homes.
Sources: Aboutamazon.com, Washington Post