There is a growing level of concern around the common practice of having humans review recordings made by digital voice assistants to improve the quality of the transcription after it was revealed that these recordings, sometimes made in error, can include sensitive information such as arguments or personal information.
Companies like Apple, Google and Amazon have said only a tiny percentage of recordings are reviewed by humans, but with elevated privacy concerns, there has been increasing pressure by these companies to act. Apple and Google have now temporarily suspended the review of the recordings, and now Bloomberg reports that Amazon has been the first to act definitely by allowing users to opt-out of the review process.
The menu item is found in the Alexa app under Settings > Alexa Privacy and acceptance of the sharing options are ticked by default.
“We take customer privacy seriously and continuously review our practices and procedures,” the Amazon spokeswoman wrote in an email Friday. “We’ll also be updating information we provide to customers to make our practices more clear.”
Due to the current state of artificial intelligence, which drives the improvement in voice transcription, human labelling of data remains an essential part of the process. It is a shame that Amazon is still making the option Opt-Out rather than Opt-In, as I suspect enough people will still agree to improve their transcriptions, especially if Alexa voice recognition is already not working for you.
Do our readers think Amazon has gone far enough to assuage concerns? Let us know below.