Amazon Alexa lawsuit | What the Tech?

[anvplayer video=”5179710″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (WHAT THE TECH?) — Amazon is facing a $25 million fine as the FTC is accusing them of keeping recordings of the people who talked to Alexa devices for years.

They say the device may have recorded you, even if you didn’t say her name.

What they listen for is someone to say the wake word, “Alexa.” Then, when the device hears that word or thinks it hears that word, it records the conversation for a couple of seconds.

Check it for yourself. Go into the Alexa app, tap “settings” and then “privacy”.

There you’ll find “review voice history”. By default, it will display all of the recordings for the day. You can change that to the last 30 days, or the entire history. You’ll likely see years’ worth of recordings, all saved on Amazon’s servers.

Look or listen to those labeled “audio could not be understood”. You may hear sounds from the TV or when someone said something similar to the trigger word such as “I’ll ask her”.

Amazon saves those, it says, to improve its functionality.

Do you really want Amazon to collect that data and save the recordings, though? You can delete the recordings by date, or all of them at once.

If you’re concerned about this, you can disable the Echo’s microphone, though you’ll effectively make the device useless when you want to ask for help. Also, if you change the device’s trigger word to “computer”, “echo”, Amazon, or “change your name to Ziggy,” we found using the name “Ziggy” significantly reduced the number of incidents when Amazon recorded conversations.

Amazon will also have to pay nearly $6 million in refunds to customers over its Ring home security camera system. The Federal Trade Commission is accusing the company of unlawfully surveilling its customers.