Alexa, Echo Devices, and Your Privacy

Amazon knows that you care how information about you is used, and we appreciate your trust that we will do so carefully and sensibly. Here are answers to common privacy questions about Alexa and Echo devices.

Is Alexa recording all my conversations?

No. By default, Echo devices are designed to detect only your chosen wake word (Alexa, Amazon, Computer, or Echo). The device detects the wake word by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word. No audio is stored or sent to the cloud unless the device detects the wake word (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button). You can also configure supported Echo devices to detect specific sounds, such as the sound of smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and glass breaking.

What happens when I speak to Alexa?

When you speak to Alexa, a recording of what you asked Alexa is sent to Amazon's cloud, where we process your request and other information to respond to you. For example, when you ask, "Alexa, play top hits on Amazon Music," we use the recording of your request and information from Amazon Music to play top hits.

How do I know when Echo devices are sending audio to the cloud?

When Echo devices detect the wake word or when the Action button available on some Echo devices is pressed to activate Alexa, a visual indicator appears on the device to indicate that the device is recording your request to stream to the cloud. For instance, a light ring on the Echo will turn blue or a blue bar will appear on Echo Show. When you use the wake word, the audio stream includes a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word, and closes once your request has been processed. You can turn on Follow-Up Mode to enable Alexa to respond to a series of requests without repeating the wake word. Learn more. You can also configure Echo devices to play a short audible tone any time audio is sent to the cloud within Settings in the Alexa app. Certain Echo devices, like Echo Input, have the short audible tone turned on by default.

Can I turn off the microphones on Echo devices?

Yes. Echo devices are equipped with a microphone off button. When the button is pressed, the power to the microphones is disconnected and a dedicated red light is illuminated. When the microphones are turned off, your device cannot record and stream audio to the cloud, even when you say your chosen wake word.

Can I review and delete my voice recordings?

Yes. You can review voice recordings associated with your account and delete those voice recordings one by one, by date range, by Alexa-enabled device, or all at once by visiting Settings > Alexa Privacy in the Alexa app or http://www.bopsource.com/alexaprivacysettings. From either page, you can also choose to have your voice recordings older than 3 or 18 months deleted automatically, or you can choose to not save any voice recordings. If you choose not to save any voice recordings, we will automatically delete your voice recordings after we process your requests and automatically delete all of the voice recordings currently in your Voice History as well. And you can delete all those voice recordings associated with your account all at once for each of your Alexa-enabled devices and apps by visiting Manage Your Content and Devices.

You can also enable the ability to delete your recordings by voice. Once enabled, you can delete the voice recording of your last request by saying “Alexa, delete what I just said,” or delete the voice recordings from your account for the day by saying "Alexa, delete everything I said today." To enable deletion by voice go to Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data in the Alexa app, or http://www.bopsource.com/alexaprivacysettings. When enabled, anyone with access to your Alexa-enabled devices can ask Alexa to delete voice recordings from your account.

Deleting voice recordings may degrade your Alexa experience. If you choose not to save any voice recordings, automatic voice recognition and voice profiles may not work.

If you have changed your default marketplace while using an Alexa-enabled product, you will need to delete all voice recordings associated with your account separately for each marketplace. To learn how to transfer your Amazon account to another marketplace, go here.

How do my voice recordings and text transcripts improve Alexa?

Alexa is designed to get smarter every day. For example, we use your requests to Alexa to train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems using machine learning. Training Alexa with real world requests from a diverse range of customers is necessary for Alexa to respond properly to the variation in our customers’ speech patterns, dialects, accents, and vocabulary and the acoustic environments where customers use Alexa. This training relies in part on supervised machine learning, an industry-standard practice where humans review an extremely small sample of requests to help Alexa understand the correct interpretation of a request and provide the appropriate response in the future. For example, a human reviewing a customer’s request for the weather in Austin can identify that Alexa misinterpreted it as a request for the weather in Boston. Our supervised learning process includes multiple safeguards to protect customer privacy. You can manage the use of your voice recordings to improve our services and develop new features by visiting Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data in the Alexa app.

For more commonly asked questions, including how we use voice recordings to provide and improve our services and how other Amazon Alexa-enabled devices and features work, please visit Alexa and Alexa Device FAQs.

To learn more about how Amazon protects your privacy, visit amazon.com/alexaprivacy.

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