Amazon admits workers listen in on thousands of Alexa conversations

amazon echo alexa product lineup-846653543

SEATTLE, WA – SEPTEMBER 20: An assortment of newly launched devices, including, an “Echo Input,” “Echo Show, “Echo Plus,” “Echo Sub,” “Echo Auto” and “Firetv Recast” are pictured at Amazon Headquarters, follownig a launch event, on September 20, 2018 in Seattle Washington. Amazon launched more than 70 Alexa-enable products during the event. (Photo by Stephen […]

Alexa, can you say Big Brother?

In a report by Bloomberg, Amazon admitted that thousands of recordings are analyzed by staff and transcribed before being fed back into the software. 

Amazon says as many 1,000 recordings a day are reviewed by workers all over the world, in countries including Romania, India, and Costa Rica.

Amazon did clarify that “an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings,” are analyzed by staff in order to “improve the customer experience.”

“‘For example, this information helps us train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone,'” the report said.

Amazon told Bloomberg that it has “procedures in place” for workers to follow when they hear something distressing.

The company confirmed that it does use the recordings as part of its work to improve Alexa’s ability to understand human language and speech patterns, but had strict security systems in place to keep user data safe.

Bloomberg reported reviewers listening to audio recordings from Amazon Echo devices are able to see the first name of customers, as well as their Amazon account number and the serial number of the Echo device.

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