By: Najja Parker, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
If you think your conversations with Alexa are private, you’re wrong. Amazon employees can reportedly listen to your chats with the device.
The invasion is purposeful though. The e-commerce company employs thousands of people across the globe to listen to voice recordings captured by Echo to help improve the software, according to Bloomberg.
“We take the security and privacy of our customers’ personal information seriously,” an Amazon spokesman told the publication. “We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order (to) improve the customer experience. For example, this information helps us train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone.”
Each member of the Alexa voice review team is responsible for mulling over about 1,000 audio files during each shift, Bloomberg reported. Once the recordings are transcribed and annotated, they are fed back into the software. Employees do not have information that can identify users or accounts.
While some reviewers told Bloomberg they’ve heard users singing in the shower, others said they’ve come across potentially criminal behavior. Amazon has a list of steps for workers to follow if they hear something concerning.
Not interested in Amazon hearing your conversations? The brand doesn’t explicitly say people are listening to recordings of some Alexa conversations, but you can still opt out. Go to Alexa’s privacy settings to turn off the feature.
However, those who choose not to participate may still have their recordings analyzed. The review team is given a written transcript instead of listening to the conversation firsthand.
Want to learn more? Check out Bloomberg’s full report here.