In response to a letter sent out by US Senator Chris Coons to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demanding answers on how long Alexa keeps users’ voice recordings and transcripts and what that data gets used for, Amazon has revealed that some of the user data from conversations with Alexa is never deleted, even if people remove the audio (via CNET).
Amazon’s vice president of public policy, Brian Huseman, sent a response last week noting that Amazon keeps transcripts and voice recordings indefinitely, and only removes them if they’re manually deleted by users.
Huseman also revealed that for Alexa requests that involve a transaction, such as ordering a pizza or hailing a ride, Amazon and the skill’s developers can keep a record of that transaction. Other requests, including setting reminders and alarms, would also remain saved, Huseman wrote in the letter.
“Customers would not want or expect deletion of the voice recording to delete the underlying data or prevent Alexa from performing the requested task,” Huseman said in his letter.
“If Alexa makes a mistake, this helps customers to understand what may have gone wrong (for instance, customers can see and hear how Alexa may have misunderstood a particular word or phrase). Providing customers with the transcript also allows customers to understand and inspect exactly what Alexa is, and is not, recording.”
You can read the letter in full at this link.