Millions of people have the Amazon Alexa device in their home and its probably pretty useful. But don’t forget it always listening and it never forgets. Amazon keeps pretty much everything Alexa hears on servers for its own use. But that is about to change.
Now users of the Alexa device can cleanse its memory on command just by saying, “Alexa, delete everything I said today,” and your Echo speaker or other Alexa device will delete all voice data and stored commands on your account for that day. Easy enough right? No!
First you have to jump through some hoops before Alexa will follow that command. Amazon is offering a taste of privacy with this new feature but its not going to make it as simple as just saying the command. Of course not.
You have to first set this feature up in your Alexa app’s settings. And that’s not so simple. Here’s what you do;
- First, open up the app.
- Open up the Settings section.
- Then tap on Alexa Account.
- Go to Alexa Privacy.
- The go to Review Voice History.
- Once there toggle on the ability to “Enable deletion by voice.”
You have to use the phrase daily and make sure everyone in the home knows the command. You may not be there everyday to purge the memory.
Privacy is becoming a big deal and justifiably so. Amazon, is looking at the hell Facebook is going through, and has decided it wants no part of it. Reason being, Amazon has had a some privacy issues with Alexa including reports that Alexa tracks and shares voice data. Add to that other privacy concerns around Amazon’s smart home device, like the revelation that certain Alexa settings allowed Amazon workers to actively listen to your Echo conversations at any time. And then there’s that Amazon Ring security camera. Video from the camera was being stored, watched, and categorized by Ring employees.
No date for the new feature has been announced but it should be availble in the next wto weeks.
Breaking It Down
Jeff Bezos and Amazon is nobody’s fool. The ability to delete Alexa’s recorded commands is the appropriate response to the growing outrage over privacy and smart devices we bring into out homes. Like I said; Amazon wants no part of the shit storm hitting Facebook. Perhaps this is the way this privacy movement has to move forward. Facebook is learning a valuable and painful lesson about how it collects, stores and shares information. So painful in fact that there is talk of breaking up the company. Trust and believe that other tech companies are learning from Facebook’s nightmare.