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Author Topic: Amazon employees are listening to what you say to Alexa, here’s how to stop them  (Read 902 times)

James G

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This is probably old news by now because it has been all over the news. Amazon has thousands of employees listening to Alexa even when you think it is not activated. Here is how to turn it off:

To turn these settings off, do this:

    Open the Alexa app on your phone.
    Tap the menu button on the top left of the screen (3 horizontal lines).
    Select "Alexa Account."
    Choose "Alexa Privacy."
    Select "Manage how your data improves Alexa."
    Turn off the button next to "Help Develop New Features."
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HA Dave

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...... Amazon has thousands of employees listening to Alexa

Thousands "world-wide" because German speaking techs are better at finding errors in German understanding than say most Koreans. And that is all they are doing is reviewing errors and problems in Amazons understanding. If you ever have a problem... it will tell you it will review the problem.

even when you think it is not activated.

That part isn't true. Fake news, bold-faced lie... who knows? But it just isn't true.
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Tuicemen

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even when you think it is not activated.

That part isn't true. Fake news, bold-faced lie... who knows? But it just isn't true.
I agree with Dave, however it is possible Alexa is listening when you think she isn't but not all the time. The reason is she misunderstood you and thought she heard the wake word.
Proof of this can be heard for your self if you listen to the history. Yes you can pull that up!
Amazon employees are working to improve that which is where the "they are listening to you all the time" misconception comes from.

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bkenobi

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Actually, it depends on what you focus on in the OP statement.

If you read that "Alexa is always listening", this statement is 100% true.  Alexa is always listening for her wake word.  She may think she heard it and start recording when not intended, but she is, by spec, not recording all the time.

If you read "Amazon employees are listening to everything you say", well...that would be a stretch and I don't think I've heard anyone claim that before.  The literature states that Alexa will only record once she hears the key word.  That may be different than what is recorded from the "help Amazon with development" setting.  That will flag any time the box doesn't do what it was supposed to do.  IOW, you ask it to play Spongebob and it plays "Spongebob helps lonely wife" then an employee will HOPEFULLY fix whatever happened so your 4yo doesn't learn some new things...

I'd call this Alexa alert partially true but a bit of alarmism.  That said, there is nothing that says another entity couldn't find a way to utilize the microphone for their own reasons.  Having any IoT device exposes you to a risk unless the developer is careful and cares.

dhouston

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« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 06:05:30 PM by dhouston »
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dhouston

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This one?

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2019-04-11/amazon-listening-to-what-you-tell-alexa-video
No. I'm not sure what's happening to the link. Search Bing for Amazon employees are listening to what you say to Alexa Bloomberg and read the Bloomberg text article.
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HA Dave

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It doesn't really matter what some peoples imaginations conjure up about their perception of evil Amazon.

The facts are.... the selections of TV, radio, board games, and reading materials are limited. The sounds and conversations that occur in most living rooms are very predictable. Although today's technology has made it much simpler to spy on the goings on of normal families.... there just isn't anything there (of any interest or value) to spy on.

This is much like the decades-old, but remarkably persistent rumor (that still periodically appears on social media)..... about McDonald’s using worms (as a meat replacement filler). Of course.... worms cost more per pound than cheap beef. But if you don't think about the cost/value part of it.... and have a anti-corporate bent... you can fall for the click-bait (pun merely coincidental). 
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 09:44:54 PM by HA Dave »
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dhouston

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bkenobi

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But McDonalds does use other meats than beef in its burgers.  It utilizes the meat that is localized to the region.  As of ~ 10 years ago when my wife worked on a McDonalds account they used Zebra meat in regions of Africa.  In the US that would be considered unacceptable, but then the cow is considered unacceptable in other areas (e.g., India).  Not saying worms is in their meat (intentionally), but if it makes financial sense, I guarantee they will have looked at it.

Similarly, Amazon and all others aren't giving you a smart speaker for nothing because they are generous or want to make sure you have the best home AI you can.  They are doing it because it makes their sales of other products increase AND because they are using your data (voice commands etc) for their benefit.  If you are ok with that, then cool.  I don't know that anyone here has said Amazon is listening to everything you say and using it against us (spying).  It is clear though that if you have an internet connected speaker, it is possible with the right techniques to exploit it.  That's not to say Amazon is doing it though.  And yes, there wouldn't be much interesting going on for most speakers, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible which is what the general discussion here has always been.  No tin foil required to comprehend that.

brobin

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I wonder if, armed with a FISA or any other search warrant, the government could compel GoogaZon to open the mic on a device and record audio/video?  What if there was suspected abuse or a hostage situation and a device was known to be in the room? 
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bkenobi

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Yup, seems plausible to be concerned about.  I seem to recall something about a case where a PC camera was turned on without the user knowing and used to record activity.  That might just be one of those CSI type shows though, lol.

HA Dave

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Here's an article in Forbes. It has a link in the third paragraph to the original Bloomberg article.
https://forbes.com/sites/davidphelan/2019/04/12/amazon-confirms-staff-listen-to-alexa-conversations-heres-all-you-need-to-know/#58b0cfa86acc

Yeah.... there was a writer once... Edgar Allan Poe (you may have heard of him) who wrote (among many things) “Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.”. Bloomberg?
 
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HA Dave

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But McDonalds does use other meats.........  Not saying worms is in their meat (intentionally), but if it makes financial sense, I guarantee they will have looked at it.

I am always amazed by... seemingly otherwise.... normal people who genuinely believe they can read minds. Or believe because they think/believe something to be true... it then becomes reasonable.
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HA Dave

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Yup, seems plausible to be concerned about.  I seem to recall something about a case where a PC camera was turned on without the user knowing and used to record activity.  That might just be one of those CSI type shows though, lol.

Yeah you should keep black tape over your phones and laptops cameras..... and don't forget to wear a tin-foil hat. You KNOW.... the NSA is reading minds now don't you?!?!? 

There you go....  rofl
« Last Edit: April 19, 2019, 09:22:12 AM by HA Dave »
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