Is Amazon Spying On Their Users Through Alexa? Thousands Of workers Listen To Conversations

amazon-alexa-designFears of Amazon probing down on customers heightened after a report recommended thousands of workers are reviewing and listening to the private conversations addressed to the digital assistant “Alexa”.


According to a Bloomberg Report, Amazon teams copy out the recordings and share Alexa conversations with other parts of the company. Amazon says the investigation and reviews are efforts aimed at pleasing to the eye of Alexa’s “understanding of human speech better.”


However, this belies the trendy insight that Alexa works under artificial intelligence. Also, Amazon never declared publicly that there is a human interface to Alexa’s voice technology.

The report said Amazon teams that decode Alexa chat is extend across various regions of the world. From Boston, Romania to India the teams are spread out to the other region.

An Amazon spokesperson reacted that the process is safe and secure as employees do not have direct right to use to information and cannot recognize people speaking as the original account details are too confidential and they will not know from where the fragment came.


How Alexa decoding work?

The media report said  Alexa’s annotating team has a combine of contractors and full-time Amazon employees. In a day, each reviewer will inspect at least 1,000 audio clips.

In fact, Amazon’s Bucharest office in Romania in the Globalworth building has three top floors fully devoted to this job and has no signal showing Amazon’s occurrence there.

During the process, teams divide difficult files via internal chat rooms in case there is any muddled word or amusing recording that obstruct their analysis.


Privacy concerns

Despite Amazon’s declare that the human module is invoked for hiking efficiency,  privacy concerns still stick with.

As such, the annotation process may not be wicked. But underlying concerns requires reassurance as most consumers do not know this was happening.

The scale for abuse cannot be ruled out. The Alexa recordings might have identifiable features and can involve biographical info.

It is vague, how long these recordings are preserved.  Also, what will happen if the info is lifted by a nasty third party or an internal employee seeks to use wrongly it for personal gains?

“You need not think of another human listening to what you are telling your smart spokesman in the familiarity of your home,” said Schaub, a lecturer at the University of Michigan who gather information about the privacy issues related to smart speakers.

Schaub said customers are conditioned to the supposition that machines are doing thrilling machine learning without realizing that there is still, guide processing involved.

“Whether that is a privacy unease or not rely on how cautious Amazon and other companies are in what type of information they have physically annotated, and how they present that information to someone,” he added.

Like Amazon’s Alexa, Apple also has Siri virtual personal assistant. Both are programmed to give answers of customer’s questions, add items to shopping lists, tell jokes and handle smart lights. While Alexa is better on speaker than siri, Siri stays with Apple mobile devices and also Apple TV.




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