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Amazon Echo: How to Protect Your Privacy When Working From Home



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Does Alexa always listen?


Chris Monroe / CNET

With states on lockdown and companies asking employees to work at home due to novel coronavirus there has been concern on the internet that Alexa might be listening to confidential calls. This can be alarming, especially when the speaker can be activated without your knowledge . For example, if you listen to the word and hear a similar sound concept, your Echo may start listening for your command.

This is not the first time Echo users have been worried about privacy. Alexa users became concerned last year after discovering that Amazon stores your audio recordings to be reviewed by Amazon employees .

In September last year, the giant tech company added new commands to help users know exactly what information Alexa collects and made it easier to remove voice recordings . There are also some new security features for Echo Shows ($ 200 on Best Buy) camera (it's Amazon Echo ($ 60 on Amazon) with screen) to prevent people from worry about being monitored.

If you work from home and are worried about your work confidential information, look at these answers as a way to protect your data.

Disconnect or Turn Off Your Echo Speaker

If you are concerned that Alexa is listening to confidential work calls you have, whether it is a customer's account information or your company's security information, simply disconnect your Amazon Echo- speakers while you work. But if you use your Echo for reminders, timers, or daily routines, you can leave your speaker connected and turn off the microphone or place it in another room away from where you are.

Can Alexa skills listen to me?

Last year, security researchers discovered malicious skills that exploit Echo's Unicode character sequence ̵

1; which cannot be stated. This will make your speaker listen and wait for you to say the wake-up word so the app can listen to you. The researchers have noted that these malicious apps have been removed, but you should still be careful about which apps you download.

Review your skill settings in the Alexa app and disable everything you haven't used in a while. Read the reviews on apps that you are not sure of to make sure no inconvenience has been detected.

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

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


Screenshots by Jason Cipriani / CNET

How to manage and remove audio recordings on your Amazon Echo

You can see the audio prints for your Alexa commands and delete them in the Alexa app . Or you can ask Alexa to delete your recordings, but you must enable the setting first. Then you can say "Alexa, delete what I just said" or "Alexa, delete everything I said today."

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 turn on Automatically delete recordings .





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





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Do Amazon employees know what I'm saying all the time?

The Amazon Echo only starts recording when you say a command to Alexa. When you say the wake word as Alexa or Echo, it starts recording the sound and stores it in the Alexa app on your phone. Transcripts and voice recordings are then uploaded to Amazon's servers for processing. If you do not want your Echo to listen to the wake-up word all the time, turn off the microphone by pressing the microphone's close button on top of the unit.

Amazon says that when they have the transcript, they manually review and comment on a small fraction of one percent of Alexa requests 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 > turn off the setting that says Use voice recordings to improve Amazon services .

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Press the microphone button to turn off the microphone.


Ian Knighton / CNET

How can I be sure my Echo Show camera does not record me?

If you have one of the earlier Echo Show devices, like the first and second generation, they will not be equipped with the window shutters integrity – but you can disable the camera 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 place a sticker or thick tape over the lens if it bothers you.

Echo Show 5 ($ 90 on Best Buy) or the new Echo Show 8 ($ 130 at Amazon) has built-in shutters that cover the lens when not in use.

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Chris Monroe / CNET

Does the Amazon Echo Show use facial recognition?

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

Amazon also owns Ring, a security camera doorbell company, which considered adding face recognition to its video door clocks earlier. That company has also taken heat recently because of its controversial partnership with certain police departments .

Can other users in my Echo account see what I ask Alexa?

Everything you ask Alexa is stored in the Alexa app as transcript and voice memo. So if you share the app with others, they will be able to see all the commands you have given Alexa. If you are worried about someone seeing what you have said – for example, if you told Alexa to buy a gift – remove 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 Alexa connected to personal services. Is it safe?

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

When it comes to security systems, find one that allows you to use a personal code so that only you or other household members can turn off the alarm. If your security system does not have a PIN feature, keep your Echo away from doors and windows to prevent outsiders from accessing – or better yet, another security system .

Want to know more about your Amazon Echo? Check out these 10 Weird Things You Can Do Amazon Echo and these 5 Unexpected Uses for Your Amazon Echo .


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