Amazon’s home assistant tech Amazon Echo with the popular AI Alexa have become extremely popular all over the world. Slowly it is starting to appear in many homes, because of its ease of use and versatile functionality.
However, recently it was leaked that thousands of Amazon employees listen to the Alexa voice recordings, or in other words the commands you have used with Alexa. This is clearly a privacy threat and needs to be dealt with. Also, what if Alexa also records everything you speak in its presence without giving it any command?
Even thinking about it will be scary for many of us. In this article I have answered whether Alexa is always listening and how to stop Alexa from listening.
What Is Alexa Or Amazon Echo?
Amazon Echo is a home assistant developed by Amazon. Alexa is the name of the AI assistant in Amazon Echo. When connected to the internet, Amazon Echo becomes active. With its voice recognition technology, it understands your commands and acts on it.
From answering queries to adding items on your Amazon cart, Alexa can do a lot of things. When a user asks Alexa a question, it scans the meaning in its directories and searches it online, finding the correct answers from top ranked websites.
Other tasks like notifying, keeping a diary, track of time, basically anything with micromanagement is possible from Alexa.
Is Amazon Echo Always Listening?
One of the major concerns of Amazon Echo users is whether Alexa is always listening. So, is Alexa always listening? Yes and No. According to Amazon, Alexa always waits for its activation word before listening to your command, which is almost always “Alexa”.
Even with Amazon vehemently reassuring that Alexa “doesn’t no listen”, the fact that Alexa is waiting for its wake-up word “Alexa”, it means that it does listen to your conversation. But, as far as Amazon reassures, Alexa only records its orders, which is the next few words or sentences after you wake Alexa using its name.
However, it is a matter of fact that Alexa does record your commands and Amazon employees listen to it, to “better overall Alexa experience”. Also, Alexa may wake up even if its name is not said, or if it thinks its name has been said. These obvious puts all of this in a much bigger grey area.
Thinking differently, such technology does need to always stay active to work efficiently. If you had to enable and disable Alexa manually each time you want to give a command, it would simply destroy the entire experience.
This also doesn’t mean that you must disregard your security in order to use such techs. Below I have discussed how you can stop Alexa from listening.
How To Check What Alexa Has Recorded?
Amazon added a method to check what Alexa records for reassuring their customers on the product. It can be done by checking the voice record history. This can be done from Alexa Privacy Settings or from the Alexa app.
To do it from the Alexa app, follow the steps given below:
- Open the Settings.
- Select the Alexa Privacy option.
- Choose the Review Voice History option.
- Go through the voice history to check if the anything important has been saved by Alexa.
All these voice recordings can also be deleted, either individually or all of it at once. One of the easier ways to do it is using Alexa commands. The “Alexa, delete what I just said”, “Alexa, delete what I said today” and “Alexa, delete everything I said today” commands.
How To Stop Alexa From Listening?
Amazon Echo also comes with an option for disabling voice recordings. If you want to stop Alexa from recording your voice, it can be done using the Alexa app. To do it, follow the steps given below:
- Open the Alexa app and click on the menu button located on the upper left corner of the screen.
- Select the Settings option from the menu.
- Click on the Alexa Privacy option.
- Select the Manage Your Alexa Data option.
- In the Voice Recordings section, click on the Choose how long to save recordings option.
- Here you will be greeted by 4 options.
1) Save recordings until I delete them: This will keep saving the voice recordings and hold them until you manually delete them by using the earlier mentioned steps.
2) Save recordings for 18 months: This option will save the recordings for 18 months and then delete them automatically. Also deletes all currently saved recordings more than 18 months old.
3) Save recordings for 3 months: This option will save the recordings for 3 months and then delete them automatically. Also deletes all currently saved recordings more than 3 months old.
4) Don’t save recordings: This option will stop Alexa from saving any recordings. Also deletes all previously saved recordings.
- Check the Don’t save recordings option and select Confirm.
- After that, scroll down to the Help Improve Alexa section.
- Locate the Use of Voice Recordings toggle and disable it. This prevents the Alexa team, or in other words, Amazon employees from directly using your voice recordings.
After you complete following the above steps, Alexa will no longer save your voice recordings and share it with Amazon employees.
So, there you have it. Now you know how to stop Alexa from listening. If you have any other questions regarding this topic, ask them in the comment section below.