CNET: Amazon bolsters Alexa privacy after user trust takes a hit. “The choice to deviate from Big Tech’s playbook underscores how serious a problem privacy issues have become for voice assistants, particularly Amazon’s Alexa. The list of woes includes news that human reviewers listened to users’ private conversations, a common practice to train digital assistants but one many customers didn’t know about. Amazon’s child-friendly Echo Dot Kids Edition smart speaker has also worried parents over how it uses and stores kids’ data.”
Digital Trends: Alexa will start to crowdsource answers to fill in knowledge gaps. “Amazon is now crowdsourcing answers for Alexa through the new Alexa Answers program. This program is meant to fill in the gaps in the assistant’s knowledge so users will no longer get the ‘Hmm, I don’t know that one’ answer. This new program was first mentioned by Amazon in December on Amazon’s blog.” Seems like a not-great idea.
CNET: Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa could be next targets for child privacy laws. “The US Federal Trade Commission slapped a record $170 million fine on YouTube earlier this week for violating online privacy laws for children. That may be just the beginning. Regulators hinted that voice assistants like the Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa could be their next target.”
Engadget: Alexa adds in-depth NFL stats ahead of the new season. “Alexa’s football knowledge is now decidedly more profound. Amazon has added a slew of info to its voice assistant’s repertoire that includes ‘comprehensive, in-depth’ stats for NFL teams and their players. If you want to know your favorite player’s rushing yards or how many penalty yards the team has racked up, it’s just a quick question away.”
CNET: Amazon now lets you stop human review of your Alexa recordings. “Amazon said Friday it will now let customers disable human review of their Alexa recordings, following similar steps by Apple for Siri and Google for its Assistant.”
The Next Web: UK Alexa users can now get answers to medical questions right from the NHS. “Amazon’s Alexa is all set to gain medical smarts in the UK, thanks to a partnership with the National Health Service (NHS). The healthcare service said it’s teaming up with Amazon‘s voice assistant to help answer medical queries with advice from the service’s official website.”
CNET: Amazon Alexa keeps your data with no expiration date, and shares it too. “Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in May, demanding answers on Alexa and how long it kept voice recordings and transcripts, as well as what the data gets used for. The letter came after CNET’s report that Amazon kept transcripts of interactions with Alexa, even after people deleted the voice recordings.”