Since the inception of smart-speaker assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and others, consumers have to live with the fact that by using these products and services, their data is being collected. How much, though? This is a frequent topic of debate. Some experts say the sheer bandwidth and storage required would make it impractical for the tech giants behind these products to retain all recordings.
Another point of concern is what companies actually do with the data. How many resources would it take for a company like Amazon to peruse your recordings, and to what benefit? Many tech experts can’t imagine companies would devote attention, much less manpower, to do that.
However, it turns out that yes, Amazon is in fact recording—and retaining—virtually everything you say around Alexa. This includes things said without actually using a “wake word” to activate it. You can delete the recordings afterward, but you cannot prevent the device from recording in the first place.
A Washington Post employee, Geoffrey Fowler, made a statement in a CT Post article that in his Alexa archive, he found “enough personal data to make even the East German secret police blush.” In the video below, he talks about what he discovered. Note that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also owns the Washington Post. Fowler didn’t hold back in his assessment of his boss’ product.