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Amazon Patent Reveals Plans To Allow Alexa To Listen, Record Users At All Times

Thursday May 30, 2019. 03:00 PM , from Slashdot/Apple
schwit1 shares a report from ScienceAlert: A newly revealed patent application filed by Amazon is raising privacy concerns over an envisaged upgrade to the company's smart speaker systems. This change would mean that, by default, the devices end up listening to and recording everything you say in their presence. Rather than only record what is said after the wakeword is spoken, the system described in the patent application would effectively continuously record all speech, then look for instances of commands issued by a person.

In the patent application, the authors explain that your Echo device would only ever record between 10-30 seconds of audio at a time, before wiping it from the local memory buffer, and recording a new 10-30 seconds of audio over it (again and again). In each of these 10-30 second recordings, the device would continuously scan looking for commands involving the wakeword, and if it didn't find any, they'd get deleted forever -- in theory, at least. But because of the potential privacy implications of having a device that records you all the time, it's understandable that some people might not be thrilled about what this patent application represents, especially since Amazon has a mixed track record with Alexa recording things it wasn't ever supposed to.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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