AMAZON HAS always had a difficult time convincing people that its Alexa voice assistant isn't always listening, listening, listening and keeping a record of all the conversations in your home.
"It isn't," it says.
"It's all deleted unless Alexa hears a wake-word," it says.
"But don't worry," it says "you can delete any voice data we do have from the Amazon app".
Except that's not strictly true. Because according to new reports, although the voice data is deleted, everything is digitally transcribed and those paper records stay with Amazon.
Amazon doesn't deny it (or at least now it has been rumbled); it says that it keeps this data for training its machine learning models and that it is ringfenced away from the main Alexa system.
The company says it is working on making the data completely isolated, but there's still work to do on that, and in the meantime, the whole reassurance thing isn't looking so great.
Compare that to biggest rival Google. It has already confirmed that it deletes all the voice and text it collects if asked. With the new policy of offering rolling deletion of your records, Google is showing a commitment to user privacy. The scheme isn't extended to Google Assistant data yet, but we hope it won't be too long.
Apple and Facebook have similar policies. Yes. Facebook's Portal has more privacy functions that Amazon, currently.
It's worth remembering at this point that we already know that the big tech firms have got humans moderating chats anyway.
Now, we've never said that voice assistants shouldn't collect voice data, after all, they don't work without it - a fact that privacy advocates occasionally forget. The only real way to avoid it is never to use one, because Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Facebook, Cortana, and yes, even Bixby with its user have to collect voice data.
The issue is these transcriptions. It's like saying "No, we won't cover you in egg and flour", knowing full well you've got a pocket full of cow dung to throw.
The fact that in a recent study of the Kids Edition of the Amazon Echo found that the only way to completely remove a child's data files was to ring Amazon. That can't be right, surely.
All people are asking is that there's a setting in the app to delete everything - transcripts and all.
Is that so much to ask? μ
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