Voice assistants have quickly become a common feature in our homes, with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant leading the way. While these smart home hubs have no doubt provided many with a convenient way of getting the news, adding items to shopping lists, or streaming music, they aren’t without their flaws.
Already this year, Amazon’s Alexa has made headlines after Echo speakers started spontaneously laughing in March. Meanwhile, a family recently reported that their device recorded and sent conversations to a colleague without their knowledge.
As The Verge explains, Amazon responded to these situations by saying that the devices were likely triggered by false positive commands.
Smart speakers can, of course, pick up random parts of a user’s everyday conversations by misunderstanding speech as a wake word. If you want to check, and delete, what Alexa has been listening to and recording in your house, follow these steps from The Verge:
Open the Alexa app on your smart device and tap the menu icon in the top left-hand corner to open the menu options. Then click into the Settings menu and tap History.
You’ll now be able to browse all the commands you’ve asked of Alexa. Of course, if you’re a heavy Alexa user, you’ll have a lot of commands to sift through. To make it easier, you can sort the results by date.
There may be occasions where you see a line time that just says “Alexa”, and this will be times when you may have mentioned the assistant’s name without actually referring to the smart speaker.
In instances where the Alexa app says “text not available”, you’ll be able to listen to the recording of what was said in the household to hear what prompted the Echo device to listen to that conversation. To do this, simply click on the “text not available”. The Echo device will have determined that the audio was not, in fact, intended for the assistant, and so it will not have returned a response.
If you want to delete recordings in your Alexa history, this history allows you to delete on an individual basis. If you’d like to wipe the entire history, you can go to the Manage Your Content and Devices page.
However, it is worth noting that the company uses recordings to personalise the Alexa experience and to create an acoustic model of users’ voices. Wiping the entire history could, therefore, “degrade your Alexa experience”, according to Amazon.