Amazon's Echo Dot and its accompanying version of Alexa for kids called FreeTime raised eyebrows and questions about children's privacy from the start. Now, Sen. Edward J. Markey (Massachusetts) and Rep. Joe Barton (Texas) want to know what the e-commerce giant is doing to ensure the privacy of kids who use the speaker and the voice assistant. The lawmakers have penned a letter to Amazon asking if kids' interactions with the speaker are saved and shared with third parties. They also want to know if the company worked with child development experts when they designed the device. The tech giant answered some of the lawmakers' concerns in a statement, telling CNET that "Amazon takes privacy and security seriously, and FreeTime on Alexa is no different."
Voice recordings captured by Amazon's Alexa can be deleted but the automatically produced transcriptions remain in the company's cloud, according to reports. After Alexa hears its'wake' word, the smart assistant starts listening and transcribing everything it hears. All the voice commands said to the virtual assistant can be deleted from the central system, but the company still has the the text logs, according to CNET. This data is kept on its cloud servers, with no option for users to delete it, but the company claims it is working on ways to make the data inaccessible. Amazon workers are listening to private and sometimes disturbing voice recordings to improve the voice-assistants understanding of human speech.
Not all voice assistants can handle the same requests. We put Siri, Alexa and Google to the test. LONDON -- Alexa will see you now. Britain's health care service is teaming up with Amazon's digital voice assistant to help answer medical queries with advice from the service's official website. Critics, however, warn about risks to data privacy.
Amazon released its first Echo device for kids last month, but now lawmakers are raising privacy concerns due to a feature that records children's voices and stores them online. Called the Echo Dot Kids Edition, it looks just like Amazon's other Alexa-enabled devices, but includes new parental controls, child-friendly content and a range of colorful protective cases. Senator Edward Markey, a Democrat, and Congressman Joe Barton, a Republican, questioned the giant corporation over the privacy issues. Lawmakers have raised privacy concerns over the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition because it records children's voices and stores them online. In a response, Amazon said parents can permanently erase the recordings whenever they choose.
Alexa has had a lot of explaining to do. Since Amazon's voice assistant debuted in 2014, the company has convinced millions of people to invite Alexa into their homes. They use it to play music, serve up the news and answer trivia questions. This year, though, the online retailing giant faced a backlash after news broke that human reviewers were sometimes listening to recordings of users' private conversations with Alexa. Those privacy problems will likely cast a shadow on Amazon's annual product launch, which takes place Wednesday in Seattle.