So, it turns out that Amazon employees are listening in on Echo users.
While the thought of your most intimate Alexa confessions (just us?) being shared with Amazon is enough to make you squirm, truth be told, this shouldnât be a shock revelation. Amazon stores and analyzes Alexa conversations to make its AI smarter - something Google and Apple also do with Assistant and Siri respectively.
Essential guide: Amazon Alexa missing manual
More concerning is the suggestion that Amazon has not kept user data as anonymized as those companies. Itâs impossible to improve AI without human intervention - but that doesnât excuse leaving it open for potential abuses of power. Understandably, you might want to stop Amazon listening in.
As it happens, there is a way to stop sharing your data with Amazon. Or at least, that's the impression it gives. Bloomberg, which reported Amazon's listening program, says even people who opt out of these settings may still have their recordings analyzed by hand.
So while we can't guarantee this will stop absolutely everything being sent to Amazon, it should still limit it considerably. Below, we'll show you how. Also remember that you can see and delete your Alexa voice history.
How to stop sharing voice data with Amazon
Blocking the sharing of voice data is done in the Alexa app. Just do the following:
1. Open the app and tap the menu button top-left.
2. Tap Settings.
3. Tap Alexa Account.
4. Select Alexa Privacy.
5. Tap Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa.
The first toggle is called Help Develop New Features and this is the first one you want to turn off. When you do, you'll get a pop-up message warn you that turning it off may prevent some features from working well. In truth? It's not going to make much difference. Amazon just doesn't want everyone switching this off and slowing Alexa's progress in turn.
Below it is a second toggle that, if you turn it off, will stop any messages you send to other people via Alexa being used to improve its transcription accuracy. If you've turned off the first toggle, chances are you'll switch off the second.
And if you want to do all of this using the web browser instead of the app, just do this:
1. Go to Amazon.com/alexaprivacy.
2. Sign in.
3. Click Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa.
4. Hit the same two toggles.
More Amazon Alexa how-tos
- How to change Alexa's name and voice
- How to control Sonos with Alexa
- How to control Amazon Fire TV using your Echo speaker
- How to use Alexa to control your lights and devices
- How to listen to podcasts with Alexa
- How to use your Amazon Echo with Alexa as the perfect alarm clock
- How to set up and use Alexa Drop In and Calling on your Amazon Echo
- Alexa and Spotify guide: How to connect and use with your Amazon Echo
- Alexa Brief Mode explained: How to turn it on and how it works