How to opt out of Amazon listening to what you say to Alexa
There have been privacy concerns about digital assistants for just about as long as there have been digital assistants, and the recent confirmation that Google and Apple were listening to Assistant and Siri conversations has done nothing to allay fears.
The 'were' in that last sentence is important, as both companies have agreed -- at least temporarily -- to cease the practice. Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity for good PR, Amazon is getting in on the action, giving Alexa users the chance to opt out of having their conversations with its digital assistant listened to -- or "manually reviewed", as Amazon would prefer. Here's how to do just that.
- Privacy: Google stops transcribing Assistant recordings and Apple stops listening to Siri recordings
- Yes, Google really is listening in on what you say to Google Assistant
- Privacy: Apple workers may well hear all of your sordid secrets via Siri
A new setting has been implemented that gives users the opportunity to indicate that they'd really rather actual human beings didn't eavesdrop (er... review) on the things they say to Alexa. Amazon warns that opting out of manually reviewing could mean that "voice recognition and new features may not work well for you", but it has bowed to pressure in introducing the opt-out anyway.
In a statement given to Bloomberg, Amazon said:
We take customer privacy seriously and continuously review our practices and procedures. For Alexa, we already offer customers the ability to opt-out of having their voice recordings used to help develop new Alexa features. The voice recordings from customers who use this opt-out are also excluded from our supervised learning workflows that involve manual review of an extremely small sample of Alexa requests. We'll also be updating information we provide to customers to make our practices more clear.
If you would like to opt out, you can head to amazon.com/alexaprivacysettings. You can also opt out using the Alexa app by opening Settings and going to Alexa Privacy followed by Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa. Flick the "Help Improve Amazon Services and Develop New Features" toggle to the off position.