Amazon to let users opt out of human review of Alexa recordings

Amazon to let users opt out of human review of Alexa recordings
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Amazon will let Alexa users choose to keep the tech giant from conducting human reviews of their voice recordings, a policy that follows concerns over user privacy. 

The new policy, implemented Friday, allows users to take their recordings out of a pool that is made available to be analyzed by Amazon employees and contract workers, a spokeswoman for the company told Bloomberg News. The move follows similar decisions by Apple and Google. 


“We take customer privacy seriously and continuously review our practices and procedures,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill. “We’ll also be updating information we provide to customers to make our practices more clear.” 

It was first reported in April that Amazon had a team of thousands of workers listen to Alexa audio recordings to try to improve the product’s software. Some workers reportedly had access to recordings that contained personal data, including users’ first names and their location. 

People familiar with the program said at the time that only a small sample of the recordings were reviewed.

The manual review policy was not previously disclosed on Alexa’s terms and conditions. Amazon told Bloomberg that the Alexa app’s settings will now contain a disclaimer informing users that recordings may be evaluated. 

“With this setting on, your voice recordings may be used to develop new features and manually reviewed to help improve our services. Only an extremely small fraction of voice recordings are manually reviewed,” the disclaimer reads.