How much data does Amazon have on you? One user emailed Amazon asking for all the personal data the company had stored on him. In return, this user received an email link from the ecommerce giant with more than one thousand Alexa recordings made by a completely different customer. According to the German publication c't, as reported by Reuters, the user who made the request for his data received an email from Amazon with a link to a 100MB zip file containing 1,700 audio files recorded by the company's voice assistant, Alexa. SEE ALSO: Amazon's holiday ad was turned into a horror film with 1 simple change The user didn't receive a reply from Amazon when he first informed them of receiving access to another customer's recordings.
For all the recent talk of using Alexa to control DVRs, there's been a conspicuous inability to record to a DVR using the voice assistant. That won't be a problem for much longer: Amazon has bolstered Alexa's Voice Skill programming kit with recording features. Tell the AI helper to record a favorite show or sports extravaganza and you'll capture the show without having to touch a remote or your smartphone. You'll have to wait for TV and set-top providers to take advantage of this, but DirecTV, Dish, TiVo and Verizon are already lining up to provide support "soon." There's more: Alexa now lets you launch directly into common navigation options, whether it's a DVR interface on a set-top box or a service (like, say, Prime Video).
Google Home and the Amazon Echo Dot both provide a variety of services that can help you out around the house and entertain you. But to accomplish this task, they also keep audio recordings of everything you have ever asked them. It's a little bit creepy, but both companies say this history is important to help the devices learn and serve you better. If this still bothers you, here's how to find the recordings and delete them. Following is a transcript of the video.
Amazon has stopped fighting a legal battle to keep Echo recordings secret, after the defendant at the heart of the case gave his permission for the evidence to be handed over. Arkansas resident James Bates was charged with the murder of a man found dead in his hot tub in November 2015. Prosecutors used Bates's "smart home" against him in course, citing information from a smart water meter to argue that someone was using a garden hose to clear blood off a patio. They also attempted to force Amazon to hand over information gathered from Bates's Echo smart speaker, arguing that it could have made recordings that would shed light on what happened that night. The Seattle-based tech company twice declined to provide the police with the information they requested from the device, although it did provide Bates's account information and purchase history, court records showed.
Amazon's Alexa recently made headlines for one of the strangest consumer AI mistakes we've ever heard of: A family in Portland, Oregon claims that the company's virtual assistant recorded a conversation and sent it to a seemingly random person in the husband's contact list. Alexa didn't just make one slip-up -- it made several that, when combined, led to a pretty remarkable breach of privacy. The company's explanation, provided to news outlets yesterday, makes clear just how unlikely this whole situation was: "Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like'Alexa,'" the statement reads. "Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a "send message" request. At which point, Alexa said out loud "To whom?"