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Woman finds vast trove of voice recordings collected by Amazon’s Alexa – and you can hear yours

Amazon customers can request all their data from the shopping giant, and can automatically delete voice data in the Alexa app

Adam Smith
Saturday 23 October 2021 14:43 BST
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A TikTok video showing a woman’s shock at how much voice data Amazon has collected on her has received millions of views and been liked hundreds of thousands of times.

“I requested all the data Amazon has on me and here’s what I found”, she said in a video. The woman has two Amazon Echo Dot speakers and another Echo device to control her smart home lightbulbs.

“When I downloaded the ZIP file these are all the folders it came with,” she said. The audio files reveal thousands of short voice clips, which she describes as “so scary”.

There were 3532 audio clips in the file, as well as a “Contacts” file which the woman says she never remembered syncing - but which Amazon asks for in order to call other people through its Echo devices.

“The very last thing that I didn’t know that they had, I could have assumed that they have but I don’t love that they have, is my location”, she says, and another file apparently shows the exact location of her smart speakers.

In a statement, Amazon said: “We give customers transparency and control over their Alexa experience. Customers can easily review and delete their voice recordings, or choose not to have them saved at all, at any time.

“Customers can import their mobile phone contacts to the Alexa app so they can use features like hands-free calling and messaging; this optional feature, which customers need to set up, can be disabled at any time.

“Finally, you can grant permissions for the Alexa app to use certain data, such as your mobile device’s geolocation, to provide relevant results (e.g., weather, traffic, restaurant recommendations), and you can manage these permissions in the app.”

In order to request user data from Amazon, customers need to go to a Request My Data page where they can select the information they want to receive and submit a request for Amazon.

Users can also delete their Alexa voice recordings automatically through the Alexa app on Android and iOS by going to ‘More’, then ‘Settings’, then ‘Alexa Privacy’, then ‘Manage Your Alexa Data’, then ‘Automatically delete recordings’ and selecting ‘Off’ to enable the setting.

From there, users can select how long Amazon keeps the data before it is deleted.

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