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Stop Amazon employees from listening to your Alexa recordings

Amazon reviews only a small percentage of Alexa recordings. 

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Last week, Amazon announced that you can opt out of a program that Amazon used to improve Alexa. Amazon employees listen to a small portion of recordings to verify accuracy, potentially exposing private conversations and information to those employees. Amazon added the option after Apple and Google announced similar plans to stop listening to recordings.

Earlier this year CNET revealed Amazon keeps transcripts of your Alexa recordings, even after you delete the audio portion of the interaction. The company eventually added the ability for you to delete recordings and transcripts.

You can opt out using the website or the Alexa app on your phone.


Opting out on the Alexa Privacy site takes just a few clicks.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Use the website

You can visit Amazon’s Alexa Privacy settings website to opt out. Once there, do the following:

  1. Click on the box labeled Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa.
  2. Turn “Help Improve Amazon Services and Develop New Features” off by clicking on the switch.
  3. Confirm your decision by clicking on Turn Off. 

Using the Alexa app is just as easy to opt-out. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Or the Alexa app

Follow these steps to opt-out using the Alexa app on your phone:

  1. In the Alexa app, slide out the menu and tap on Settings.
  2. Select Alexa Privacy.
  3. Tap Manage How Your Data Improves Alexa.
  4. Turn “Help Improve Amazon Services and Develop New Features” off by tapping the switch.
  5. Confirm your decision.

Amazon warns that turning off this feature could mean that voice recognition won’t work and you may have trouble using new features as they become available. But if you’re worried about privacy above all else, that’s a small trade-off to ensure no one’s listening to your private recordings.

While we’re at it, it’s also a good idea to take a few minutes to triage all of your Alexa recordings and transcripts Amazon is keeping.

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