Alexa’s privacy concerns prompt Amazon to include delete command

Amazon, the ecommerce giant recently announced to have modified its Alexa voice software to enable users to delete recordings with voice command.  The announcement came on the heels of Amazon being accused for illegally collecting voice recordings.

Earlier, Amazon provided tools on Alexa’s app and its website to erase recordings of what the user has said throughout the day. The modification in Alexa voice software comes with the criticism of smart-speaker manufacturers like Amazon and others for illegally retrieving voice recordings. A coalition of 19 consumer groups have accused Amazon for illegally identifying and collecting voice recordings from users under 13 with Echo Dot Kids Edition. The criticism has escalated with increasing consumer purchase of devices and their integration in home, cites source.

Reportedly, The California State Assembly is working on a bill that would require smart-speaker manufacturers to obtain consumer permission for saving recordings of conversations or commands. Some legislators are already taking strict action regarding the same. The Illinois Senate has recently passed a bill on the same issue.

By default, Apple’s Siri & Alexa save recordings of everything said after they hear their wake words. the feature is deployed to help train their AI (artificial intelligence). Recently, Google Assistant changed settings to not record after it hears the prompt – “Hey, Google”.

The devices sometimes turn on accidentally and record things that are not intended for the device. Last year, it was reported that a family in Portland found that its Echo recorded a private conversation & sent it to a random contact. Amazon claimed that the device misheard commands and sent the recording.

As per credible sources, Amazon is adding a new feature, that allows users to delete day’s recording with the command- “Alexa, delete everything I said today”. The modification is made to make it easier for users of Echo device to delete recordings as consumer & privacy concerns regarding AI are at a critical stage.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/29/amazon-adds-alexa-delete-commands/?utm_term=.c3b4b335c274