After Bloomberg first broke the news yesterday, Amazon today is confirming it employs “thousands of people around the world” to listen to your Alexa conversations. According to Amazon, workers in the U.S., Romania, Costa Rica and other locations are tasked with transcribing voice commands before feeding them back into the software “to improve Alexa’s grasp of human speech.”
In a statement to reporters, the tech giant says it takes security and privacy seriously but also confirms that customers were never “explicitly” told about the practice.
Transcribers listen to as many as 1,000 audio clips in a normal nine-hour shift. While much of the audio is described as “mundane,” at least two workers have reported hearing more upsetting recordings, including a possible sexual assault.
Amazon says transcribers have limited access to just a small number of interactions. Furthermore, employees cannot view personally identifiable information like names and addresses, however, they can see the device’s serial number and your account number.
Users can opt out by changing the privacy setting in the Alexa app.