Amazon Alexa Privacy Concerns

Many of us have probably installed a number of home automation devices such as the Amazon Echo or Alexa enabled device already in the house.

You’ve probably already benefited from the number of services that Amazon has provided in some way. The number of commands at your disposable could be endless – maybe that’s the intent. Instead of you going to Alexa for its services, unbeknownst to you, Alexa could be finding out more about you to ensure you get more of Amazon. Herein lies the concern.

Your Privacy

Let’s face it; your information is going through servers all around the world to ensure you get connected to a marketplace.

There have been concerns whether having an Alexa-enabled device such as the Echo Show is infringing on your Privacy – your personal information. This information is kept somewhere and possibly used by Third Parties. People have voiced their anxiety around audio, video, or personal information being recorded and being used with malicious intent.

However, there are ways for you to manage your privacy as best as you can. Lets talk about the services that use Audio and Video features and what you can do to manage your privacy.

Audio Recordings

Amazon devices are continuously waiting for the trigger word – Alexa. When you say ‘her‘ name, Alexa opens the world of Amazon’s services at your command. However, there have been stories of people’s conversations being recorded and filed even though you may have gone through and manually requested that the conversations are deleted. Amazon says that the information is used to help cater their service to your personal needs. In any case, you have the ability to Manage Your Content in your Amazon Alexa App Settings.

Video Calling

The Echo Show is equipped with a display and a camera. The concern that the camera is actually watching you all the time may be valid to some. However, Amazon claims the video is only capturing images when it’s required. The intent of the camera is to be able to have your callers observe you while you call (i.e. video calling). It’s a great feature that provides you with the opportunity to see your significant other from different parts of the world – it keeps us connected.

However, a default setting in the video calling feature is the “Drop-In” option. If you video call someone who has a camera on their device, you will be able to see through their camera while ‘dialing’ out to that person. You can go through the settings and turn this feature off – Go into your Device Settings; Go to Communications; Then Turn off the ‘drop-in‘ feature.

Managing Your Privacy

With most of Amazon’s services, you can change or modify the amount of data Amazon can take and use, by going into the settings and Managing Your Content. There is a caveat; modifying the data/content capture will also affect the service that Amazon provides. Remember, Amazon wants to understand who you are to market their services to your personal needs. However, if you’re keen on enjoying the devices, then you may be okay with the information being collected – you might get better service. In either case, you have the ability to manage the information collected. Enjoy responsibly.

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