Amazon to Allow Customers to Disable Human Review of Alexa Recordings

Alexa users who don’t want their recordings reviewed by third-party contractors finally have an option to opt-out.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Amazon said Friday that it will now let customers disable human review of their Alexa recordings, following similar steps by Apple for Siri and Google for its Assistant.

The new policy, implemented Friday, allows users to take their recordings out of a pool that is made available to be analyzed by Amazon employees and contract workers, a spokeswoman for the company told Bloomberg.

“We take customer privacy seriously and continuously review our practices and procedures,” the Amazon spokeswoman wrote in an email Friday. “We’ll also be updating information we provide to customers to make our practices more clear.”

The move Friday afternoon followed revelations about an Amazon team consisting of thousands of people who listen to Alexa voice recordings as part of a program designed to improve the company’s voice assistant.

This manual review policy was not previously disclosed on Alexa’s terms and conditions. Amazon told Bloomberg that the Alexa app’s settings will now contain a disclaimer informing users that recordings may be evaluated.

“With this setting on, your voice recordings may be used to develop new features and manually reviewed to help improve our services. Only an extremely small fraction of voice recordings are manually reviewed,” the disclaimer reads.

The move the latest sign of growing public awareness of the listening and recording capabilities of Amazon Echo speakers and smart home devices from companies like Apple and Google.