Amazon includes delete commands for Alexa


Retail giant Amazon is making it easier for the Echo devices while deleting the recordings of their voices as consumer and regulatory privacy concerns regarding the artificial intelligence assistant mount. The retail giant said on May 29, 2019 that it tweaked its Alexa voice software to give the consumers the ability to use the voice commands to delete the recordings of what they have said throughout the day.

The company had earlier provided tools in the Alexa app and on its website to erase such recordings. The recent change to make deleting recordings easier has come after criticism of Amazon and other smart-speaker manufacturers escalating in recent months as the consumers purchase more of the devices and integrate them in to their homes. Earlier in May, 2019 about 19 consumer groups had accused Amazon of collecting voice recordings and other identifying information on the users under 13 with its Echo Dot Kids Edition.

Some of the legislators are also taking an action. The California State Assembly is working on a bill that will require smart-speaker makers to get consumer permission to save the recordings of the commands or conversations. A bill was recently passed by the Illinois Senate on the same issue and other legislators have also eyed the issue.

Alexa and Siri of Apple by default keep the recordings of everything said after they hear “wake” words to help train their artificial intelligences. The Assistant by Google recently changed its default to not record what it hears after its prompt “Hey Google”. However, the devices are expected to record only after they hear their name but sometimes they turn on accidentally and record things which are not intended for the device. Such an incident had happened when a family in Portland, Ore found that its Echo had recorded a private conversation and sent it to a random contact. Amazon had then said that the device had misheard the commands that led to send the recording.

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