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Should I be worried that Alexa is Listening to Me?

Dear Robin,

I just bought an Amazon Alexa. I love listening to music and having reminders but I am worried that it might be listening to all of my conversations. Should I be worried?

Marlo- Calif


Dear Marlo-

Digital personal assistants are so convenient . I have some Apple HomePods and love listening to music while I work. I'll let you in on this little secret: Alexa, as well as by some of its partners including Bose, Facebook, Sonos, Sony, and Ultimate Ears, is listening to you all the time. Even if you do not use its "wake up" word...Alexa, Alexa can turn on and start speaking you. Sometime my Apple HomePod does this too, and it always surprises me...in a creepy way.

Alexa uses a cloud computing company to to process every spoken word captured by the smart speaker and what this means to you is that is that every word you say to Alexa is sent to Amazon's cloud service to be automatically transcribed before it can respond to your request including basic commands like "play music" or "turn on the light"—nothing is processed on the device itself because it doesn't have the necessary computing power and the intelligence on-board. According to Amazon you can disable the secret eavesdropping setting that amazon calls "voice recordings" in the Alexa application.

The good news is that you can also delete your voice recordings in the Alexa application :


Click Settings > Alexa Privacy

Select individual entries or all the recordings at once and click “Delete Voice Recordings” for any data you don’t want


Google Assistant also collects data about the state of connected devices. But the company says it doesn’t store the history of these devices.


Apple does the most admirable job operating home devices by collecting as little data as possible. Its HomeKit software doesn’t report to Apple any info about what’s going on in your smart home.


If you would like to learn more check out the my resources on CyberSafeSenior.com

Smart Speakers or Tiny Spies? (YouTube Video)

Are You Smarter than Your Smart TV? Your TV may be Watching you. (PodCast)

Why is Privacy Important? (PodCast)

#CyberSafeSenior #BeSeniorSmart #Digital assistants

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