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How to listen to everything Amazon Echo has ever heard

If you own an Amazon Echo, you probably know its strange secret. The device records a lot of what you say. Deep inside that dark tower, Echo keeps a vast trove of recordings. Your voice is preserved. Your friends’ voices are preserved. Anyone who has ever been to your house and said, “Alexa!” has contributed to its great library of human sound.

On the upside, this amazing technology puts instant information a voice command away. Most people have no idea that you can do much more than get the latest weather or listen to your favorite tunes. Click here for a list of Alexa commands that you’re probably not using but should.

The downside is that Amazon stores an audio recording of every voice command you’ve issued to Alexa, not just in the device itself, but on Amazon’s servers.

Most owners feel a little weird about these voice recordings. What does Amazon plan to do with what I say? Will someone break into Alexa and hack my voice? Can law enforcement access my recordings? Is Amazon going to use these sound files for some dastardly plan?

Why Amazon Stores Your Voice

First, let’s address why the device stores your voice in the first place. In brief, Alexa wants to obey your every command. But no matter how lifelike Alexa may be, you are still a human being talking to a machine, which has no intuition.

Tip within a Tip: Click here for ways to control your home with Amazon Alexa and your voice.

For the software to learn, it must adapt to your style. Alexa is designed to figure out your particular style of speaking. Some people mumble, and others have thick accents. Gradually, Echo’s technology takes this into account and gets better at understanding you.

Is Amazon Echo Always Listening?

The short answer is yes. Alexa is activated when it detects one of its wake words, which are “Alexa,” “Amazon,” “Computer,” or “Echo.” You’ll know that the device is ready for a command when the outer ring at the top glows blue.

According to Amazon, a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word is stored along with each recording. So if you’re having a conversation and say something like, “I love that song! Let’s listen to it. Alexa, play the Coldplay song, ‘Viva La Vida,’” then Alexa may keep the words “listen to it.”

Next page: Listen and delete Amazon Echo recordings

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