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Update on Amazon Alexa’s User Recordings

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At this point, you’re probably well aware of privacy concerns associated with voice assistant devices like Amazon Alexa. Perhaps you have concerns of your own. Here’s the latest information from Amazon regarding their privacy practices:

Last month, Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) sent a letter to Amazon requesting clarification on what information Alexa keeps and how long it’s stored. You can read Amazon’s full response here. In short, Amazon doesn’t technically delete all transcript and voice recording information it collects from Alexa users.

Customers do have the option to log into their Alexa Privacy Hub and delete past voice recordings. However, Amazon claims, “We may still retain other records of customers’ Alexa interactions, including records of actions Alexa took in response to the customer’s request. And when a customer interacts with an Alexa skill, that skill developer may also retain records of the interaction.” When a customer uses Alexa to set an alarm, subscribe to a service, order food, request an Uber, etc., that transaction is recorded. In their letter, Amazon explains that their goal is to use this data for training purposes—to make Alexa smarter.

So to answer the question: Does Amazon record my interactions with Alexa? Yes. And no. If you use an Amazon Alexa device, we encourage you to read Amazon’s full letter and stay updated with their data and privacy practices.

It will be interesting to see if Amazon’s privacy practices evolve as Alexa gets “smarter.” If Alexa’s growing intelligence is dependent upon the amount of information it holds about us, will Amazon eventually know more about us than we care to share? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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