Privacy is becoming a trickier thing to maintain these days, especially when you willingly carry one of the most advanced tracking devices in existence wherever you go.
Those who are wary of smartphones, smart devices and virtual assistants generally cite concerns over their information being recorded and shared without their knowledge.
Only fueling those concerns, one woman recently shared that she had found over 3,000 recordings of herself taken by her various Amazon devices.
@my.data.not.yours #greenscreen we made it to the @New York Post 😱 #fyp #foryoupage #dataprivacy #rownd #datarevolution #data #tech #takebackyourdata #privacy ♬ Spongebob – Dante9k
The woman, who goes by the username “my.data.not.yours” on TikTok, posts lots of videos on the topics of privacy, reviews privacy policies and gives people tips on how to limit (or at least be aware of) their digital footprint.
“I requested all the data Amazon has on me and here’s what I found,” she said. “So when I downloaded the ZIP file these are all the folders it came with.”
In the video, she clicks on the “audio” file and says that it contains 3,534 short clips that her devices recorded, which she tells viewers is “so scary.”
She explained that one recording was of her asking Alexa to turn the lights on — nothing too surprising there. What she was more concerned about was that there was a file on her contacts, too.
“It turns out they have a full list of my contacts from my phone and I never remember syncing that,” she said.
That wasn’t the end of it.
“The very last thing that I didn’t know that they had — I could have assumed that they have but I don’t love that they have — is my location,” she continued, admitting that she’s “not totally comfortable with everything they have.”
@my.data.not.yours Reply to @ladyisabellemae #privacy #fyp #foryoupage #amazon #alexa #dataprivacy #bigtech #bigbrother #trending #bigdata #privacyrevolution #update ♬ Spongebob – Dante9k
While this may surprise some people, many have known about this feature on their devices for some time.
In February, an article by CNBC stated that the Amazon Echo “saves a copy of everything you ask Alexa,” which makes sense. You can also delete these recordings — ironically — by asking Alexa to delete them.
You can also change the settings so that recordings are automatically deleted after a set amount of time.
According to the New York Post, an Amazon spokesperson acknowledged the voice recording feature and said that the recordings can be deleted at any time or you can change the settings so they aren’t saved in the first place.
“We give customers transparency and control over their Alexa experience,” the spokesperson said. “Customers can easily review and delete their voice recordings, or choose not to have them saved at all, at any time.
“Customers can import their mobile phone contacts to the Alexa app so they can use features like hands-free calling and messaging; this optional feature, which customers need to set up, can be disabled at any time.
“Finally, you can grant permissions for the Alexa app to use certain data, such as your mobile device’s geolocation, to provide relevant results (e.g., weather, traffic, restaurant recommendations), and you can manage these permissions in the app.”
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