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Use Amazon? Make these 5 changes now to protect your privacy

Amazon’s pandemic boom shows no signs of slowing down. Every single minute in the first quarter of this year, the e-commerce giant brought in $837,330.25.

For Big Tech companies, collecting your data is a vital part of their profits. You can take your privacy back as long as you know the proper settings to change. Tap or click for eight hidden maps and trackers you need to switch off now.

If you use Google Chrome, you might be part of a test of Google’s new tracking method without even knowing it. Tap or click for a free tool to know if Google is following you around the web.

Amazon is tracking you in ways you may have never considered, but you can take back your privacy by following these steps.

1. Erase your Amazon browsing history

Scroll through Amazon.com, and you’ll see all kinds of things you’ve browsed before or items remarkably similar. It’s not a happy accident. Amazon keeps a detailed history of the items you browse. You can shut out those suggestions by clearing your browsing history from your profile.

This not only stops Amazon from tracking your activity. It can also keep your browsing secret from others who use your computer. That’s an excellent way to keep gifts a surprise.

Here’s how to clear your Amazon browsing history on a computer:

  • Log into your account, then click on Account & Lists at the top right of your screen.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page to see Your Browsing History.
  • Click View or edit your browsing history.
  • To remove a specific item from view, click Remove from view beneath the product.
  • You can clear the entire list by selecting the Manage history dropdown on the top right of this page and clicking Remove all items from view.

Pro tip: To stop Amazon from collecting your browsing history from now on, toggle Turn Browsing History on/off into the off position.

PIPE DOWN, ALEXA: 5 frustrating Amazon Alexa and Echo settings to update

2. Delete your Alexa recordings from her memory

Imagine everything you’ve said to your Alexa smart speaker over the years. Take a trip down memory lane before you wipe it all out.

  • Open the Amazon Alexa app. Tap on More (which has three vertical lines).
  • Hit Settings > Alexa Privacy.
  • Tap Review Voice History.
  • From here, you can filter by day, time range, and device. Tap a recording, then the play button to listen.

Instead of deleting these recordings one by one, you can wipe everything out all at once.

  • In the Alexa app, click the three-line More menu.
  • Choose Settings > Alexa Privacy > Manage Your Alexa Data.
  • Under Voice Recordings, tap Choose how long to save recordings.
  • From here, you can choose a time period or select Don’t save recordings. This will delete any previous recordings.

Here you can also enable voice deletion. You can say, “Alexa, delete what I just said,” or “Alexa, delete everything I said today.”

BYE, BYE TRACKING: How to see everything Google tracks about you and erase it

3. Hide your order history or just certain orders

If you’re anything like me, you’ve ordered a lot over the years. Fun fact: My first Amazon order was a book, way back in 1995. There’s no way to delete your order history permanently, but you can archive orders and hide them from view.

Here’s how to do it from your web browser:

  • Log into your account, then click Returns & Orders in the top right.
  • Under each order, you’ll see Archive order.
  • A box will pop up, asking you to confirm.
  • If you need to access an archived order to get a receipt or make a return, click Accounts & Lists, and select the block called Archived orders.

WIPE IT OUT: When’s the last time you deleted your search history from your browsers and social media platforms? Here’s how.

4. Stop Amazon Sidewalk from sharing your internet connection

Sidewalk is essentially a mesh network that extends your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection range by up to a mile. It turns your Echo speakers and some Ring gadgets into bridge devices to give internet-connected tech a boost.

Sounds handy, but what about your privacy? Amazon says the Sidewalk network uses three layers of encryption and that your neighbors won’t be able to see your data. I say the Internet of Things is notorious for insecure devices and no updates.

This only applies to some devices, including Ring’s Floodlight Cam, Spotlight Cam Wired and Spotlight Cam Mount from 2019 or later, along with most Echo models (including the Dot, Plus, Show, Dot for Kids and Studio) made after 2016.

If you want to opt out, open the Alexa app.

  • Tap More followed by Settings.
  • Tap Account Settings, followed by Amazon Sidewalk.
  • Turn Amazon Sidewalk off if you do not want to participate.

5. Control who can see and hear you using an Echo Show

I bought all my siblings Amazon Echo Shows to drop in to say hi to our mother whenever they want. It’s one of the Echo’s best features, but the speaker or display goes both ways.

Someone could watch or listen to what’s going on in the room after a 10-second delay. You never know who might pop in unexpectedly unless you adjust your settings.

First, double-check who you have approved to Drop In:

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone.
  • Tap Communicate at the bottom of the screen, and on that page, tap the contacts icon at the top right.
  • Scroll through your contacts and make sure Allow Drop In is toggled on for only the right people.

Next, set permissions for each of your devices. Maybe you are OK with this feature being switched on in the kitchen, but not in your bedroom.

  • In the Alexa app, select Settings > Device Settings and choose the device you’d like to use Drop In with.
  • Tap Communication, then select Drop In. Choose from permitted contacts only or just your household.
  • If you’d like to disable Drop In altogether, open the Alexa app on your phone and follow the above steps for each of your Echo devices. When you get to the Drop In page for each Echo device, select Off.

HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT POKEY WI-FI, SMARTPHONE ISSUES OR AN ONLINE BUSINESS TURNING A PROFIT? Post your tech questions for concrete answers from me and other tech pros. Visit my Q&A Forum and get tech help now.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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