We all know for a fact that Amazon’s Alexa is evil and will bring forth the rise of Skynet. Seriously, any gadget that wakes you up in the night by giggling can expletive deleted. Now for those of you worried about big brother, there’s even more reason to hate the gadget of doom.
Most of us will have used Alexa at some point and those that have will know that as soon as you say the trigger word, which can be Echo, Alexa or even Computer, Alexa will start listening. If you check your Alexa dialogue history you’ll see every word you have spoken. For the privacy conscious, Amazon lets you delete the voice recordings that have been stored, however, the text logs of the audio remain on the cloud servers with no option for them to be deleted.
Amazon has stated the text transcripts are deleted from the main Alexa system and that they are working on ways of deleting the data from other areas. An Amazon spokesperson had this to say:
“When a customer deletes a voice recording, we also delete the corresponding text transcript associated with their account from our main Alexa systems and many subsystems, and have work underway to delete it from remaining subsystems,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an email.”
At least they are working on it, but it’s far from an ideal situation from both a customer and company standpoint. Especially now the world is much more conscious of individual privacy after the Facebook scandal.
This week a group of 19 consumer and public health advocates filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition claiming the device retains children’s data after voice recordings have been deleted. Amazon has responded by saying the Echo Dot complies with the children’s online privacy protection act.
Amazon has said that data stored is for “machine learning purposes” and that data is stored until the machine learning is complete, however long that is. As Amazon has said they are working on ways to delete the stored data this is definitely a story to keep an eye on.
Are you guys worried about this breach of privacy or are you happy to keep using Alexa no matter what is stored? Let us know in the comments.