If you are using a PC, Xbox, or other Microsoft device, chatting with Cortana can be an easy way to get things done while your hands are busy.
But as with all voice assistants, watch out for the company's snooping. In August the motherboard discovered that Microsoft entrepreneurs listen to recordings of Cortana voice commands, sometimes from personal computers and low-security browsers.
Cortana recordings are now being transcribed in "secure facilities", according to Microsoft. But the transcript program is still in place, which means that someone, somewhere, can still listen to everything you say to your voice assistant.
Don't worry: if this creeps you out, you can delete your recordings. Here's how.
The first step is to open a Windows computer and log into the same Microsoft account that you used to chat with Cortana. When you have done so:
- Type "Settings" in the search box next to the Start button. The setup app comes up; Click on it. You can also click the Start button and scroll down to the Settings icon.
- Click "Accounts" in the lower left corner
- Click the "Manage My Microsoft Account" link under your username. You will be redirected to the Microsoft website and log into your Microsoft account.
- Click "Privacy" on the left side of the menu at the top of the page
- You will be asked to enter your Microsoft password. do it. You may also need to verify your identity with two-factor authentication if you have configured it.
- You should now be back in the privacy section of the Microsoft Web site. Click "My Activity" in the menu under the banner.
- Open the menu that says "Filter by data type" on the left side of the screen. Click "Voice", which is the second option.
- In the middle of the screen you will see a list of Cortana recordings associated with your Microsoft account. You can click the play button to listen to each recording individually.
- To delete all your voice recordings, select "Clear Activity" at the top right of the list. To remove individual recordings, click the "Clear" link at the bottom of each item (just next to the "View Details" link).
Note: Doing this does not prevent Cortana from sending your voice recordings to Microsoft. For that, you need to disable speech recognition online.
How to prevent Cortana from recording your voice
- Return to Settings. This time, scroll down to Cortana in the right column.
- Click "Permissions" in the menu on the left
- Click "Manage the information that Cortana can access from this device." Scroll down and select "Speech privacy settings."
- Switching Online Speech Recognition  Now Cortana will only use device-based speech recognition, which is less accurate than its cloud-based recognition engine and has limited functionality. But Microsoft will no longer transcribe or collect any of your voice recordings.
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