Have I Mentioned that Amazon is Evil Before?

When you “buy” a Prime Membership, you are selling yourself to them:

Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant may be useful, but the privacy concerns aren’t going away anytime soon.

Now, in a fresh turn of events, the retail giant has confirmed that it keeps transcripts and voice recordings indefinitely, and only removes them if they’re manually deleted by users.


Privacy in the Internet of Things space has already been a hot topic. Earlier this April, Bloomberg published a piece about how thousands of Amazon employees listen to voice recordings captured in Echo speakers, transcribing and annotating them to improve the Alexa digital assistant that powers the smart speakers.

Then in May, the retail behemoth came under further scrutiny for its data collection practices after CNET reported that Alexa assistant not only keeps your voice recordings, but also keeps a record of your voice transcriptions for improving its AI algorithms, with no option to delete them.


Amazon’s response points out that even developers of Alexa skills can keep a record of every transaction or routinely scheduled activity a user makes with an Echo device. “When a customer interacts with an Alexa skill, that skill developer may also retain records of the interaction,” the company wrote in its response.


But the lack of clarity surrounding its data collection and retention policies has revived debates over the sometimes conflicting goals of convenience and privacy. And Coons isn’t exactly satisfied with Amazon‘s reply.

“Amazon‘s response leaves open the possibility that transcripts of user voice interactions with Alexa are not deleted from all of Amazon‘s servers, even after a user has deleted a recording of his or her voice,” he said in a statement. “What’s more, the extent to which this data is shared with third parties, and how those third parties use and control that information, is still unclear.”

I believe the technical term for this sort of business and technical practice is, “Dystopian.”

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