The change to make deleting recordings easier comes with criticism of Amazon and other smart-speaker manufacturers escalating in recent months as consumers purchase more of the devices and integrate them into their homes. Earlier this month, a coalition of 19 consumer groups accused Amazon of illegally collecting voice recordings and other identifying information on users under 13 with its Echo Dot Kids Edition.
Some legislators are also taking action. The California State Assembly is working on a bill that would require smart-speaker makers to get consumer permission to save recordings of commands or conversations. The Illinois Senate recently passed a bill on the same issue, and other legislators have eyed the issue.
Alexa and Apple’s Siri by default keep recordings of everything said after they hear their “wake” words, to help train their artificial intelligences. Google’s Assistant recently changed its default to not record what it hears after its prompt, “Hey, Google.”
(Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Amazon’s new feature, available starting Wednesday, lets users remove the day’s recordings by saying, “Alexa, delete everything I said today.” The company said it will also soon give customers the ability to erase their last request to the device by saying, “Alexa, delete what I just said.”
Amazon said that it introduced the voice commands to allow customers easier control over their privacy.