Does Alexa always listen to you? This affects your privacy

The progress that a hyper-connected world is leading us to has its pros and cons. One of the “more negative” aspects of this massive connection we can agree is that it focuses on our privacy. We provide our devices with private information in exchange for services that allow us to live a more convenient and practical life. This is a fact we are all aware of. But what is the truth in all of this? Is it true that big tech companies trade in the data they get from their smart devices? Let’s see how the Alexa virtual assistant works, and if it is true that it has the ability to spy on us.

Is Alexa listening or recording my conversations?

This is the starting point from which we should all start. It’s not the same thing as Alexa listening more than recording. Why do we say this? Because like any intelligent voice assistant, it is always listening, waiting to receive the command, command or keyword that activates it and thus execute the indicated request after going through the verification process. Amazon.

This way, only when you receive the “keyword” will it start recording to store and send data to the Amazon cloud, where all the information you receive is encrypted in order to process and act on it. So, the first question has already been resolved: Alexa is always listening, but not recording. Thus, it does not send information to the cloud.

So why does it activate without me saying the keyword?

This is because Amazon’s voice assistant activation mechanism can fail. This means that during the conversation you are in, you have pronounced the main word. This error occurs because you may have said a similar word that confuses Alexa’s built-in algorithm. In fact, a recent study by Northeastern University found that these failures occur on a frequent basis — about 19 times a day — on Amazon’s smart speakers, echo point s Echo Show, as well as with speakers from Google and Apple. An anomaly in the system that can put us on alert and wanting to take action.

How do you prevent Alexa from running without my permission?

To avoid instances like the one that happened to a US citizen, where Alexa sent a private chat with her husband to a co-worker, Amazon gives you full control over your recordings. Through the application, you can access and delete them all or individually. You can also configure Alexa not to save any kind of conversation or to mute the microphone. This is undoubtedly a good way to prevent your smart device from listening to you. However, you also won’t be able to send him an automatic command to take any action, as his microphone will be muted.

As we said in the first lines, globalization forces us to be in contact almost 24 hours a day, either through the constant connection of our smartphones, computers or tablets, or through our home devices designed to receive orders.

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