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Amazon Echo: How to Protect Your Privacy While Working at Home



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Does Alexa always listen?


Chris Monroe / CNET

With states on the shutdown and companies asking employees to work from home because of the new coronavirus there are concerns on the Internet that Alexa may be listening to confidential conversations. This can be alarming, especially when the speaker can be activated without you knowing . For example, if it listens to the password and hears a similar-sounding term, your ultrasound can start listening to your command.

This is not the first time that Echo users have concerns about privacy. Alexa users became alarmed last year after discovering that Amazon saves your audio recordings to be rated by Amazon employees .

Last September, the giant technology company added new commands to help users know exactly what information Alexa is collecting and made it easier to delete voice recordings . There are also some new security features for the Echo Show's ($ 200 at Best Buy) camera (which is the Amazon Echo ($ 60 at Amazon) with the screen) to prevent people from worrying about being watched.

If you work from home and are concerned about the confidential information of your work, look at these answers to protect your data.

Unplug or mute your Echo speaker

If you are concerned that Alexa is listening to confidential work conversations you are having, whether it be a customer's account information or your company's security information, simply disconnect your Amazon Echo speaker while working. However, if you use your echo for reminders, timers or daily routines, you can leave your speaker plugged in and turn the microphone off or put it in another room where you are.

Can the Alexa skills listen to me? ?

Last year, security researchers discovered malicious skills that use the Echoes Unicode string ̵

1; which cannot be spoken. This keeps your speaker listening and waiting for you to say the wake word, allowing the app to listen to you. The researchers noted that those malicious apps were removed, but you should still be careful about which apps you download.

Go through your skills settings in the Alexa app and disable any settings that you haven't used in a while. Read the reviews about apps that you are not sure that nothing annoying has been detected.

Read Alexa and Google Assistant fall victim to eavesdropping apps for more information.

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You must enable voice delete in the Alexa app before you can use the privacy feature.


Screenshots from Jason Cipriani / CNET

Manage and delete audio recordings on your Amazon Echo

You can view the audio transcripts of your Alexa commands and delete them in the Alexa app . Or you can ask Alexa to delete your recordings, but you need to enable the setting first. Then you can & # 39; Alexa, delete what I just said & # 39; or & # 39; Alexa, delete everything I said today & # 39; say.

You can also manage your Alexa data in the app and choose to automatically delete recordings after three or 18 months. Go to your Alexa Privacy Settings and enable Automatically delete recordings .

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Here's what Amazon revealed about Alexa privacy to one. ..



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Do Amazon employees always know what I am saying?

The Amazon Echo does not start recording until you say a command to Alexa. As soon as you say the password like Alexa or Echo, it starts to record the audio and save it to the Alexa app on your phone. The transcripts and voice recordings are then uploaded to Amazon's servers for processing. If you don't want your echo to always listen to the wake word, turn the microphone off by pressing the microphone's mute button on top of the device.

Amazon says that once they have the transcripts, they manually request a small fraction of one percent from Alexa to help improve their voice assistant. However, you can opt out of this feature and prevent Amazon employees from listening to your recordings .

Go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage your Alexa data > disable the setting that says Use voice recording to run Amazon services improve .

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Press the microphone button to switch off the microphone.


Ian Knighton / CNET

How can I be sure that the camera of my Echo Show is not recording me?

If you have any of the earlier Echo Show devices, such as the first and second generations, they are not equipped with the privacy shutters – but you can turn the camera off by pressing the power button. You know it's off when the red light comes on. The lens is not covered, but you can always put a sticker or thick tape over the lens if that bothers you.

The Echo Show 5 ($ 90 at Best Buy) or the new Echo Show 8 ($ 130 at Amazon) have built-in privacy closers that cover the lens when not in use .

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Chris Monroe / CNET

Does Amazon Echo Show use facial recognition?

Unlike Google Nest Hub Max the Amazon Echo Show does not use facial recognition to know that you are yourself – although it is worth noting Amazon has an optional facial recognition service called Rekognition that you can use to add image and video analysis to your applications.

Amazon also owns Ring, a doorbell camera company, which in the past considered adding facial recognition to its video doorbells . That company has also recently become popular due to its controversial partnerships with some police forces .

Can other users on my Echo account see what I'm asking Alexa?

Everything your Alexa asks for is stored in the Alexa app as transcripts and voice memos. So if you share the app with others, they can see every command you have given Alexa. If you are concerned that someone is seeing what you said, for example, if you told Alexa to buy a gift, delete the transcripts immediately (see the first section above).

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If you share your Echo account with others, they can see everything you say to Alexa.


Chris Monroe / CNET

I have connected Alexa to personal services. Is it safe?

If you use Alexa to access your bank account information or connect it to your home security system ($ 40 at Walmart) you are probably wondering what prevents someone from accessing to that information. Fortunately, most banking services require you to create a PIN for extra security, so only you can access your bank account information.

Look for security systems that allow you to use a personal code so that only you or other family members can turn off the alarms. If your security system does not have a PIN function, keep your Echo away from doors and windows to prevent outsiders from accessing – or better yet, get another security system .

Want to know more about your Amazon Echo? Check out these 10 weirdest things you can get Amazon Echo to do and these 5 unexpected uses for your Amazon Echo .


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