Smart Home Devices
Alexa is an Amazon Echo-based smart home device that is capable of hearing a variety of voice commands. These commands are then sent to the Alexa app and its various capabilities. It is similar to an iPhone Siri, Android’s Google Now and other such digital assistants. The use of AI makes it extremely accurate at understanding natural speech and making sense of it. Because Alexa works with third-party devices, manufacturers are free to integrate their devices into Alexa’s ecosystem as well. That means anyone who has an Echo speaker can add their smart home product or gadget to Alexa’s deck. As a result, some users have been alarmed by what Alexa can hear as well as how they have to protect their privacy while using the smart home assistant. In this article, we take a look at what is Alexa and how you can improve your privacy in order to reduce the potential for any eavesdropping or recording with your voice device.
What is Alexa?
Alexa is a smart home service that is powered by Artificial Intelligence. It is also known as the Amazon Echo. The voice-activated device was launched as a smart home hub by the e-commerce giant in 2014. The company expanded its range of products with Alexa-enabled speakers, alarm clocks, and other home appliances. The hub allows users to interact with their connected devices, such as lights, music systems, and appliances. It also supports skills, which are third-party applications that provide specific functionalities.
Can Alexa Record Your Voice?
That depends… Technically yes. Samplings of your conversation can be and have been listened to by Amazon employees. But, this is illegal in many countries and Amazon claims they don’t allow eavesdropping. It claims to be: an assistant. As such, it does not take your voice as a source to be used. It only acts upon the information that is streamed through the app. – Alexa is not a microphone. It has a specific set of algorithms that enable it to receive commands and translate them into action. This includes voice recognition that translates speech streams into text and then sends it to the app.
How to Improve Privacy With Alexa
There are several ways in which you can improve your privacy with Alexa. Let’s take a closer look at them. – Use a headset – This is a simple but effective way to improve your privacy. This is because the Echo device only captures the sound that comes through the microphone. It does not record your voice. Hence, it is not affected by the same. This means that the only voice that gets recorded is the one coming through the headset. – Use a PIN code and Turn microphone off Button – If you want extra protection, you can use a PIN code to access Alexa’s functions. The PIN code should be entered before each use as it prevents the device from accessing certain information in the cloud. It also locks your privacy by blocking every command. This is because Alexa does not store your voice. Hence, it does not record it. You can also use the mute button to mute Alexa when it is not being used. – Use a different Echo device – Another way to improve your privacy with Alexa is to use a different Echo device. This is because the hub collects data from all the Echo devices that are connected to it. Meanwhile, your voice will only be sent to the microphone on the new device.
Protecting Your Privacy with a PIN Code and Turn microphone off Button
These are two simple steps that will ensure complete protection with Alexa. Here is how they work. – Use a PIN code – The PIN code is a unique four-digit code that you can use to access Alexa. This code should be entered before each use, which means that the device can only read and record your voice. However, it is not able to access any of the data stored in the cloud. – Switch off the microphone – The microphone on the Echo device is only active when it receives commands from the Alexa app. That is why it is turned off when not being used. The only sound that gets recorded is the sound that comes through the microphone. Switching it off will mute Alexa.
Q: Is Alexa listening to everything that I say? A: No. Alexa only acts upon the information streamed from the app. Hence, it does not take your voice as a source to record. Q: Can I use Alexa in 2 rooms? A A: No. It is a single-room device. However, you can use an auxiliary device with a mic to connect it to the Echo. This is because the main device is only working as a hub that connects the device with the cloud. Q: Can Alexa read out what I am writing in Word? A: No. The hub reads out text but not other documents. These are some of the common questions and concerns regarding Alexa. If you still have some questions, drop us an email. We would be happy to help you out!