Fri. Nov 22nd, 2019

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Voice assistants: How to record your conversations?

3 min read

Lately, there have been a number of reports that say what you tell a language assistant does not dissipate. Rather, almost all companies store these voice messages and transcribe them partially. But you can escape that! These days voice assistants are used by every 2 out of 5.

Those who use voice assistants do not necessarily assume that their own conversation with the computer voice is recorded and then listened to by human employees. 

But that is exactly what was or was common practice. From the supplier’s perspective, this helps to improve the quality of speech recognition. But the users were not informed about it. Above all, it should happen more often than the language assistants inadvertently activate and then listen to private conversations or in intimate moments.

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At Amazon employees listen to the talks and the practice continues cheerfully. Even if users delete calls, they are probably partly reserved. At Google, employees also listen to snippets of audio snapped up by the Google Assistant. However, this currently no longer affects users in the European Union . Apple Siri also listened – but Apple has stopped this practice now. But even at Microsoft people listen to what Cortana hears.

How to change your privacy settings in voice assistants

Amazon Alexa

Yes, you will continue listening to Amazon. To turn this off:

  1. Open the Alexa app
  2. Go to Settings> Alexa Privacy
  3. Under Decide how your data should improve Alexa flip the switches.

Neither your conversation with Alexa nor messages sent via it will then continue to be heard by employees, according to Amazon. By the way, you can also see transcripts here and delete stored audio recordings.

Google Home

At Google, there are several ways to get the right settings. However, as mentioned above, Google is currently no longer listening in the EU – for at least three months since 1 August 2019. Google voice assistant is very popular among users.

  1. Open the Google Home app
  2. Go to Settings> More Settings> Your Data
  3. Toggles the switch for voice and audio activities.

Of course, you can do the whole thing via Google’s web interface.

  1. Opens  myactivity.google.com in the browser from the desktop
  2. Click Activity Settings on the left 
  3. Scroll to Voice and Autio activities and flip the switch.

If you also go to the item  Delete Activities, you can delete already saved recordings.

Microsoft Cortana

Microsoft listens to Cortana, but also takes on Skype conversations. The latter can not be turned off, however. In Microsoft’s Privacy Dashboard,  you can view previous records. The fact that the voice recordings listen, is now also in Microsoft support documents. Disabling this is not possible at Microsoft. On a PC with Windows 10, you can either disable Cortana completely or at least turn off the “Hey Cortana”.

Facebook

The big difference between Facebook and the other voice assistant providers: Facebook transcribes not just things that we’re told a language assistant, but voice messages that were sent to friends through the messenger. Facebook is currently pausing this practice, and not all languages ​​are affected here. Maybe you can turn it off like this :

  1. Opens a conversation
  2. Click on the name above
  3. Turn off  Voice to Text.

Another option is to deprive Facebook Messenger of access to the microphone through the Android or iOS settings.          

Apple

Apple has responded quickly and announced that once no staff will listen to more Siri voice recordings. First off. The practice may continue, with future versions of iOS likely to provide appropriate switches to participate in the program or not. If you want to be sure, you are currently hosting Siri and the Dictation feature. In addition, there is a profile on Github to disable the recording of Siri conversations. Its installation should not be necessary anymore.

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