NEVER FANCIED having an Alexa device in the house? Not sure if Amazon is storing all your personal data and using it for no good?
Well, happy birthday, have a big pile of "I told you so" coupons - feel free to give them to your mates with a speaker in every room.
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has responded to a request from a US senator wanting to know exactly how long Amazon keeps recordings made by its network of Echo and third-party devices.
We already knew it kept recordings, they've been submitted as evidence in murder cases already. We also know that deleting the recordings at your end doesn't delete written transcriptions from Amazon's servers.
But the answer that eventually came back from Amazon's Vice President of Public Policy, Brian Huseman, is more than a little disturbing.
Huseman confirms that all recordings and associated transcripts are kept indefinitely unless they're manually deleted by the user.
Huseman adds that there is an "ongoing effort to ensure those transcripts do not remain in any of Alexa's other storage systems." but that customers would find there was a huge degradation in service if they did start deleting stuff:
"Customers would not want or expect deletion of the voice recording to delete the underlying data or prevent Alexa from performing the requested task,"
Wow. So it's our bad for creating the data in the first place then. Naughty, naughty users.
It gets worse. Third party ‘skills' may well give data generated to the developer too, and whilst they will be expected to keep to the same standards as Alexa, it's not something they have control over. It also means that some skills will have access to everything you've ever bought with your speaker, in effect meaning that creating a skill gives devs masses of extra data to build your profile from.
ALEXA… mic off…. seriously. Now. μ
Bad for shareholders, mildly good for the planet
YouTube on the Tube
Claims that it hasn't ever actually worked