Report Says: Don’t Bother Asking : Alexa Is Spying On You !
An article in Bloomberg is telling million of people who share a home with an Amazon Echo device what they've always suspected: Alexa can listen to them at any time.
The feature reveals that employees sift through "thousands of clips" -- including a woman singing in her shower, and even a sex assault in progress -- and in some cases, the clips are shared and become inside jokes within the company.
A group of veterans of the voice program spoke to the outlet, describing how they go through all the clips recorded by the smart speakers during every shift. As Bloomberg reports, the clips are transcribed and then fed back into Amazon's computers.
And the audio isn't completely anonymous, either: The article notes the clips are stamped with the user's first name and account info.
So why are they doing this? Amazon insists the audio review process helps them "train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone."
And Amazon insists, "We take the security and privacy of our customers’ personal information seriously," adding only a "small number" of clips are annotated.
"We have strict technical and operational safeguards, and have a zero tolerance policy for the abuse of our system," an Amazon statement continued.
The article also notes that Apple's Siri and Google's Home devices also need human help to improve its systems, but that both companies employ various anonymizing techniques, to better hide the source of the audio.