Amazon is rolling out new privacy features today for Alexa. In addition to an educational “privacy hub,” the company lets you delete your stored recordings by voice. But it’s off by default; you’ll need to flip a switch.
Every time you use Alexa’s wake word, it sends off your voice to Amazon’s servers. Amazon keeps your recording indefinitely, and unlike with Google Assistant, you can’t prevent that behavior. Until now, your only recourse was to either use the Alexa app or log into Amazon’s privacy dashboard to delete your recordings by hand.
Now, Amazon is working to give you a better understanding of its privacy policies and a quicker method to delete your recordings.
Amazon Introduces a Privacy Hub and Voice Deletion
Amazon’s new privacy hub, unveiled on May 29, 2019, is a centralized place to read about Alexa privacy policies and how features like the wake word and indicator lights work. It also provides access to Alexa’s privacy settings. In the past, you had to find all this information strewn across different web pages, so it’s nice to see all the information in one place.
But the more important new feature Amazon just introduced is the ability to delete some of your stored recordings by talking to Alexa. “Some of” being the key words here–you can’t delete anything older than today’s commands by voice.
While Amazon is rolling this feature out to everyone, it’s an opt-in process. The company explains that once turned on, anyone with access to your Echo devices can delete your recordings, so the idea is to give you control of your data and prevent “unintended deletions.” It’s an odd choice because Alexa does confirm your intention before deleting the recordings.
To opt-in, log into the Alexa Privacy Dashboard, click on “Review Voice History” and then flip the “Enable deletion by voice” toggle. Now you’ll be able to either say “delete everything I said today.” According to Engadget, you should also be able to say “delete what I just said” but that didn’t work in our testing, and Amazon’s site doesn’t make any reference to that command. Perhaps that feature is coming.
More control of your voice recordings is a definite win, but we still hope Alexa will follow Google’s lead and let you use Alexa without storing your voice recordings. Nevertheless, we’ll take what we can get.