She operates our smart homes, plays us music, makes voice and video calls, tells us the news, wakes us up in the morning, and organizes our activities. Alexa is becoming completely intertwined in our daily lives just like our other computing devices like smart phones and computers.
As of early 2019, around 100 million Alexa-enabled devices have been sold. Alexa is everywhere, from thermostats to appliances to headphones to Echo devices. There’s no denying the utility that Alexa-enabled devices offer. Smart speakers and displays like the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, and Echo Show act as our digital planners, entertainment devices, and so much more.
There are some major concerns surrounding Echo devices though, and one of the most significant centers around privacy. In addition to the concerns about hacking and advertising, Amazon records and saves every word you say to Alexa. You can even check a log of your recordings in the Alexa app, and you might be surprised to see just how much of your conversations Alexa has saved. One user reported that Alexa actually sent a message to someone in her contacts that contained a private conversation after Alexa mistakenly heard the user say the wake word and a ‘send message’ request.
There is a way to stop Amazon from listening in on your Alexa conversations.
How to stop Amazon from listening to your recordings
Step 1: Open the Alexa App.
Step 2: Open the menu in the upper left corner and click on settings
Step 3: In the settings menu, select the option that says Alexa Account
Step 4: Under the Alexa Account Menu, Select the option that says Alexa Privacy
Step 5: The Alexa Privacy menu is where you can tell Amazon that you don’t want them using your voice recordings for research and development purposes. To disable the setting, click on Manage how Your Data Improves Alexa. Then, where it says Help Develop New Features, slide the switch into the off position. A prompt might come up asking you to confirm your selection, and you’ll have to confirm that you want to turn this setting off.
Other Alexa privacy tips
In Alexa Privacy menu, you can also view a history of all your recorded interactions with Alexa and delete that history. In addition, you can review your smart alert history, manage your smart home device history (which is the info sent to Amazon about your smart home devices), and manage your skills permissions (which is kind of like managing app permissions on your phone). Under Manage Skills Permissions, you can find out which skills have requested permission to access data like your address, name, Amazon pay, phone number, and email.
By regularly checking out the Alexa Privacy menu, you can view and adjust the settings to make your Alexa experience a bit more private.
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