A new report has revealed that employees at Amazon are listening to recordings made via Alexa devices to help improve its speech recognition capabilities.
Using technology is becoming almost as natural and necessary to us as eating and breathing. Okay, maybe it isn't quite as extreme as that, but it's getting close. We personally feel as if we need to check our phones on a regular basis. It's not a case of merely wanting to anymore, and we know we're not the only ones.
As much as we love and depend on technology, there is that niggling feeling in the back of our minds that it can't be trusted. Or rather, the people in charge of it can't be trusted. We have likely all experienced a targeted ad or two popping up on social media after we had a conversation about the product it's selling with our phone nearby. Sometimes those ads seem to pop up after we just think about something we like. That really creeps us out.
A report from Bloomberg has recently revealed that our phones aren't the only things we should be wary of when it comes to eavesdropping. It turns out that employees back at Amazon HQ are listening in on the conversations we're having with Alexa. Amazon's explanation for doing so is to ensure the systems are hearing and responding to the commands correctly.
If you own and have set up your Alexa, turns out you will have given permission for the recordings to be used in such a manner. Let's be honest, 99% of us aren't reading the small print, especially in this instance. The good news is that Amazon is not listening in when it shouldn't be, according to this same report. The recording only begins when Alexa is activated.
However, Amazon has admitted to occasionally hearing things that it definitely shouldn't have. All us Alexa owners know that the gadget can be set off for seemingly no reason at times. If an employee does happen upon a recording including a full name or bank details, it is flagged as critical data. However, there has reportedly been an instance where employees believed to have heard a sexual assault but were allegedly told by higher-ups that it was not their job to intervene.