Amazon has thousands of employees around the globe that listen to voice records captured in the houses of Amazon Echo owners, reports Bloomberg.

We also have a zero tolerance policy for the misuse of the system, and have rigorous technical and technical shields. Employees do not have direct access to information that can identify accounts or the person as part of the workflow. All information is treated with high confidentiality and also we utilize authentication to restrict access, service audits and encryption of our control environment to protect it.

It is standard practice to utilize some records for product development. Apple has workers who listen to Siri questions to be certain the interpretation of a request lines up with what the individual said. Recordings saved for six months using a random identifier, and are stripped of identifiable information, however.
While much of the work has been described as”mundane,” employees have sometimes encounter more private recordings, like a girl singing off key from the shower or even a kid yelling for help. Amazon workers have internal chat rooms in which they share files when help is required parsing a word or, even more about, when an”funny recording” can be located.

Two workers told Bloomberg they’ve heard recordings that are upsetting or potentially criminal, and while Amazon claims to have processes in place for such occurrences, some employees have been told it is not the company’s job to interfere.

Occasionally they hear records they find upsetting, or possibly criminal. Two of the employees said they picked up what they think was a sexual attack. They may share the experience in the internal chat room when something like that happens. Two Romania-based employees said that, after asking guidance for such instances, they were told it wasn’t Amazon’s job to interfere, although amazon says it has procedures in place for employees to follow if they hear something painful.

Alexa users have the choice to disable the usage of the voice recordings for developments to the service, but a few might not understand that these options exist. Amazon does not mean it is very clear that real men and women are currently listening to those records.

Seven people familiarized with Amazon’s review process talked to Bloomberg and demonstrated some insider details about the program that could be concerning to Echo users.

Alexa users concerned should make sure that you enable all privacy features and uncheck the option for allowing Echo recordings are saved by Amazon. Additional details about how Amazon uses the voice records that it collects can be found at the initial Bloomberg article.
Based on Bloomberg, records sent to employees who work on Alexa don’t include a user’s full name or address, but an account number, first name, along with the device’s serial number are directly connected with the recording.

Google also has workers that are able to access audio snippets from Google Assistant for the purpose of improving the item, but Google, like Apple, eliminates information that is identifiable and distorts audio.
In a statement to Bloomberg, Amazon reported that an”extremely small” number of Alexa voice records are annotated and there are steps in place to protect user identity.

We take the security and privacy of all our customers’ personal information seriously. We annotate an sample of Alexa voice records so [to] improve the client experience. For instance, this information helps us educate our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, therefore your orders can be better understood by Alexa, and ensure the service works well.
Recordings are additional back to assist Alexa better respond to voice commands, transcribed, annotated, and listened to. Amazon has centers for Alexa advancement in places that range from Boston.

Amazon does not seem to be removing all personally identifiable information, and while the Echo is meant to collect sound only when a wake term is spoken, the employees who talked to Bloomberg stated they often hear audio files that appear to have begun recording with no wake word in any way.