Every time you speak with Alexa, a recording of your voice is sent to Amazon's servers. If you've ever wondered how long Amazon keeps this log, the company has an answer for you. Indefinitely – or until you delete the data manually.
Alexa does not always record everything you say. Mostly it only listens to the wake-up word (Alexa, Echo, or Computer), but once you say that word, everything that follows is recorded and sent to Amazon's servers. The cloud servers are the real intelligence behind Alexa. They analyze what you say and then send a response.
What was not clear is what happened after that. We knew that Amazon kept the record for an undefined period of time. The transcripts are useful to improve the service, and you can even listen to your requests. However, we did not know if Amazon has ever deleted the data.
Amazon recently answered this question in a letter to Senator Chris Coons, and you may not like what it has to say:
We keep the voice recordings and transcripts of customers until the customer deletes them.
If you do not bother to delete your data, Amazon will not. Keep your voice recordings forever. Of course you can also delete the data manually. Amazon has also indicated that your voice recording is really removed in this case. However, some underlying data may be retained as needed. For example, if you've asked Alexa to buy something, the transaction data for purchase records will be saved.
If you've ordered a Uber or Lyft while Amazon deletes the actual recording of your voice requesting the service, the outside companies will continue to hold that you've been using the service, as you did with Uber, and give you pickup and any other information that Amazon has provided to the third party. The answer from Amazon does not tell you if the company is forwarding a copy of your voice recording to skill developers.
Luckily, deleting your data is pretty straightforward, and you can even do it now by voice. We still want Amazon to follow in Google's footsteps, and that voice messages that are sent to cloud servers by default will no longer be stored. [CNET]
CONNECTED: Prevent All Voice Assistants from Retuning Your Voice
In Other News:
- Uber Eats wants to shorten the waiting time in the restaurant: Uber Eats has a novel idea : Order your dine-in food before you arrive. With the new service, you can order your food on the way to the restaurant so you have less time to sit down and start eating ̵
- iOS 13 fixes your problem in FaceTime: FaceTime (and other video chat apps) have a problem. To give the impression that you are looking at the other person in the line, you have to look into the camera. But to see what's going on, you have to look at the screen. This usually causes a break because you do not seem to be looking at the other person. An update in iOS 13 wants to do it. It fits your gaze so that it looks like you are looking into the camera, even if you look at the screen – pretty pretty stuff. [VenuteBeat]
- Google wants to simplify the process of completing credit card information: Google Chrome can save your credit card information to automatically add to your credit card information. Typically, you must enable Google Sync to benefit from it on a new device. Well, that is unnecessary. Chrome will fill out the fields (with the exception of the security code) for you as long as you sign in with your Google Account. [TechRadar]
- The TA505 hacking gear is now aimed specifically at banks: TA505 is a well-known hacking group that has succeeded to some extent by appealing to the widest possible population. It would send phishing emails to large groups of people and organizations. The more attempts it made, the more likely someone would click on the link. Now it is aimed specifically at banks and other financial organizations. This narrow goal is becoming more common, usually in the hope that a single hit will bring a higher reward. [ZDNet]
- Regal Cinemas Plans to Launch a Subscription Service: The success and failure of MoviePass demonstrated both the potential and the dangers of subscription services for theaters. But the cinemas themselves seem to believe that the concept can work, and more have introduced customized subscription services. Regal's service can start this month and is expected to cost between $ 18 and $ 24 per month (with staggered subscriptions). [MacRumors]
- Microsoft blocks Windows 10 update from May 2019 on older Macs: If you are using Windows on a Mac, upgrading to the latest version of Windows 10 may not be possible if your Mac is from 2011 or earlier You have not done an update Boot Camp. The problem seems to be related to the MacHALDriver.sys file and Microsoft is working on a solution. [Windows Latest]
- Samsung Introduces Night Mode Photography on the Galaxy S10 Plus: So far, Samsung users have only had a brightness mode feature for night photography, with no options to enable or customize. Now Samsung is launching a night mode feature for US users (which is already known internationally), with more precise controls. We doubt that it surpasses Pixel 3's amazing night vision capabilities. [The Verge]
- Android alerts for your phone to all: The Microsoft app "Your Phone" is the best Windows 10 feature you probably will not use. Mirrored Android notifications are one of the features that got us excited the most. So far, however, only Windows insiders could use it. Microsoft now makes the feature available to all Windows 10 users. Sorry iPhone users, iOS is too locked to take advantage of it. [Engadget]
The Hubble telescope continues to provide us with fascinating data and beautiful pictures. Sometimes we both exist at the same time.
Hubble managed to capture a picture of an exploding star. The star in question is called Eta Carinae and 170 years ago was the second brightest star in the sky. But it has faded over time and now it is much harder to see with the naked eye. We know that Eta Carinae went through a series of explosions, suggesting that three stars are the cause, all connected by gravity.
While observing the star, Hubble spotted an outburst and discovered a change. Where in the past we had a good understanding of the emitted gases of Eta Carinae, scientists can now see evidence of new gases such as magnesium. Along with this change, the scientists saw a much larger and faster explosion than in the past. NASA now believes that the star dies in a supernova explosion.
NASA has posted images of the recorded explosions, and you should take a look. [Space.com]