Problems with Amazon's Alexa
Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in May, demanding answers on Alexa and how long it kept voice recordings and transcripts, as well as what the data gets used for. The letter came after CNET's report that Amazon kept transcripts of interactions with Alexa, even after people deleted the voice recordings.
The deadline for answers was June 30, and Amazon's vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, sent a response on June 28. In the letter to Coons, Amazon noted that for Alexa requests that involve a transaction, like ordering a pizza or hailing a rideshare, Amazon and the skill's developers can keep a record of that transaction. That means that there's a record of nearly every purchase you make on Amazon's Alexa, which can be considered personal information.
Other requests, including setting reminders and alarms, would also remain saved, Huseman noted, saying that this was a feature customers wanted. That feature raised concerns among privacy advocacy groups, which discovered that Alexa's "Remember" feature didn't delete information stored unless people called Amazon's customer service to delete the entire profile.
Amazon said it uses the transcripts for training its voice assistant, and also so customers can know what Alexa thought it heard for voice commands. Those transcripts aren't anonymized - Amazon explained that they're associated with every user's account.
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Created: 2019-07-21 09:09:46
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