Is your Echo spying on you?

Ludovic Bertron / Flickr

Alexa is the newest member of the household and yes she is attentive and listening to you carefully. In fact, she is recording everything almost everything you say and storing it on Amazon servers.


Does that make you uncomfortable?

Well, of course, nobody appreciates intrusion into a private moment nor your sensitive information being recorded. Though Amazon has a reputation for being a secure platform where your information stays guarded, it is an annoying and quirky thought that, at any moment, you might just have spilled the beans.

Here are the answers to some of the apparent question revolving around security concerns arising due to Amazon Eco eavesdropping:

Is Amazon Echo listening all the time?

Not all the time, but the moment your personal assistant hears the ‘wake word’ ‘Alexa’ she is all ears. Imagine a scenario when you are discussing a new investment opportunity with your wife, and suddenly you say, “Alexa lower the AC speed.” Your command makes her active, and after that, she not only lowers down the AC but begins recording the whole conversation without you being remotely aware of such a thing happening.

How about turning the microphone off?

Yes, you can. There is a button on the top of the speaker. However, if you do so Alexa will stop taking any voice commands whatsoever. And you will need to use remote for controlling your personal assistant. Though, people who are extremely wary about their information being stored might use this option. But, I feel that way all the usability, efficiency and fun quotient behind Amazon Echo will be diluted.

What are the ways to keep a better check on Amazon Echo?

All you need to do is switch on a couple of optional buttons in your personal assistant, and you are good to go:

1)   Activate the optional “wake up sound.” It is a short beep. Every time Alexa begins streaming the audio it will give the beep sound first.

2)   “End of request” tone can also be activated, so you are intimated when Alexa is done with processing your request.

Does it store the information I share?

Yes, it does. Everything that Alexa gets to listen is duly recorded and stored on the Amazon server.

How to delete that information?

All you need to do is log into go to My Account > Manage your Content and Device page and delete all the voice recordings. More to the point, you can also do it via the phone app. Open the left navigation panel of the app. Go to Settings > History and delete the call recording. One can choose to remove a specific audio stream or else the whole history.

What will Amazon do with the stored information?

Amazon uses this data for creating a robust algorithm that will eventually help them in extending the users a more personalized service. Hence, if you delete the whole history of audio recordings, then it will become difficult for Amazon to extend tailored services to you.