Take control of your privacy with Alexa and the Amazon Echo
It seems that every day we learn about a new privacy scandal or data security lapse, and Amazon has certainly not been immune to such mishaps. One way that the company is trying to address these types of issues and allay public concern is through its Privacy Hub. Following is a brief description of what the Privacy Hub is, and how to use it.
How does Amazon address user privacy?
- Wake Word – Amazon has always claimed that the Echo devices only start listening to users (and recording them) after they use the wake word “Alexa.” Users can also change this to a few other options such as “Echo,” “Amazon,” or “Computer.”
- Indicators – Echo devices have indicator lights that illuminate when the device is active, as well as speakers that emit responses or audible tones when a request is made.
- Microphone Controls – Users can manually deactivate the microphone on Echo devices, which will then display a red light signifying that the device is not listening.
- Camera Controls – Echo devices with cameras like the Echo Show, Echo Show 5, Echo Spot, and Echo Look, allow users to turn off the cameras digitally. The Echo Show 5 also has a physical shutter that can be used to cover the camera.
- Manage Voice Recordings – Users can view, hear, and delete voice recordings through the web or app, or by telling their Alexa device to “delete everything I said today.”
How to use the Privacy Hub
Echo and Alexa device users can access the Privacy Hub to review voice history, review smart alert history, manage smart home devices history, manage skill permissions, and manage how their data improves Alexa from the web or through the Amazon Alexa app on their iOS or Android device.
Once they are logged into their Alexa account on the web or app, users can navigate through these sections. They can see what information Amazon has access to, change permissions and settings, and delete any data that they no longer wish for Amazon to save.
The following steps illustrate how to navigate the Privacy Hub through the app, though the process is similar on the web:
Next, click on Alexa Privacy mid-way through the Settings menu options.
You are now in the Alexa Privacy section. From here, you can click on various options to make granular changes to your privacy settings:
- Review Voice History: See, hear, and delete your voice recordings.
- Review Smart Alert History: Review alarms and security alerts detected by Alexa
- Manage Smart Home Devices History: See the