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Amazon confirms that Alexa transcripts are stored that you can not delete

Photo: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo) The image can be stored indefinitely even if you are prompted to delete it.

In May, Delaware Senator Chris Coons sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking why Amazon manages voice mail captured by Echo devices, with privacy concerns raised in the field. According to reports, Amazon stores the text.

"Unfortunately, recent reports indicate that Amazon customers may not have as much control over their privacy as Amazon has stated," Coons wrote in the letter. "While I am encouraged that Amazon allows users to delete audio recordings associated with their accounts, I am very concerned about reports indicating that text transcriptions of these audio recordings are stored indefinitely on Amazon servers and users are not given the opportunity to delete these text transcripts. "

CNET first reported that Brian Huseman, Vice President of Public Policy at Amazon, responded to the Senator on June 28, telling him that Amazon kept the transcripts until users manually delete the information. The letter states that Amazon "ensures that these transcripts do not remain in any of Alexa's other storage systems."

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However, there are some conversations made by Alexa that lead Amazon independently of customers – calls for deleting records and transcripts according to the letter.

As an example of records that Amazon wants to keep despite deletion requests, Huseman called cases where customers use Alexa to subscribe to Amazon's music or delivery service, request a ride, order pizza, buy media, set alerts, schedule calendar events or send messages to friends. Huseman writes that these records are kept because "customers do not want or expect that deleting the voice recording will erase the underlying data or prevent Alexa from performing the requested task."

The letter states that Amazon generally keeps records and transcripts for users to execute them Understand what Alexa has "heard" and train their machine learning systems to study the variations of language "based on region, Dialect, context, environment and the individual speaker, including his age "better understand. Such transcripts will not be anonymized to the letter.

Amazon declined to comment on Gizmodo beyond what was in Huseman's letter.

In his public response to the letter, Coon expressed concern that he shed light on how Amazon keeps some records.

"The Amazon response leaves open the possibility that transcripts of user-language interactions with Alexa will not be deleted by all Amazon servers, even after a user deletes a recording of their voice," Coons said. "In addition, it is unclear to what extent this data is passed on to third parties and how they use and control this information."

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