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Security & privacy

Amazon knows so much about you, it’s scary – How to see it all

If you have an Amazon Echo, you should know that Alexa is always listening. Tap or click here for six ways to stop your smart devices from recording you. Of course, Amazon says Alexa is only listening for the wake word … but that still means it’s tuning in.

Recently, I read a Reuters report that exposed just how much your Amazon Echo listens, records and keeps in its archive. It was shocking. Not only is Amazon keeping voice files whenever you make a request, but it’s also recording parts of conversations that don’t even include Alexa.

The other day I was talking to my husband Barry about closing a deal. Alexa wasn’t part of the conversation whatsoever. Yet, somehow, when I combed through Amazon’s vast archive of my private data … Alexa had overheard and recorded part of this conversation.

Needless to say, it was incredibly creepy

Millions of people have Amazon Echos in their homes. Yes, they are helpful but it’s also Amazon’s way of becoming ubiquitous in our lives. Since the voice aid is there to answer any command, you forget that it’s there.

In some instances, these devices can be helpful. For instance, the Alexa Care Hub is a huge help to elderly members of your family. It can alert them to take their pills — and let you know if they fall. But if you think Amazon isn’t keeping any data on you, that’s simply untrue.

Even if you don’t use any of the company’s smart home devices, Amazon can still collect your data. If you use a Kindle, Amazon knows exactly what you read, how many pages you flip through and the start and stop times — down to the millisecond.

Oh, and don’t forget about Amazon Sidewalk, which impacts you and your whole neighborhood. Tap or click here to opt-out of Amazon’s shared neighborhood Wi-Fi network.

How to see what Amazon knows about you

If you want to get a copy of your Amazon data, it’s really easy to do. Just follow these steps:

  1. Sign in to your Amazon account.
  2. Go to Request My Data. Then, select all the data you want to recieve.
  3. When you’re done, hit Submit Request.
  4. You’ll then get a confirmation email. Click the link to validate your request.

Just be prepared for a long wait. It may take up to 10 days for you to receive the link in your email.

Bottom line: Amazon is everywhere

Right now, there’s no gatekeeper in charge of where your data’s going, what it’s being used for and how that information is stored and exploited. I wanted to find out more about this, so I called up the reporters behind the Reuters report. It’s called “Amazon wages secret war on Americans’ privacy, documents show.”

We had a fascinating conversation, which you can listen to in my podcast, Kim Komando Explains.

In this episode, I talk with Reuters reporters Jeffrey Dastin and Chris Kirkham about just how pervasive Amazon’s data collection is. You’ll learn how Amazon influences politicians, how consumer advocates are trying to help you and what Amazon knows about you.

Remember, Amazon isn’t the only company that collects your data. Most Big Tech companies do this to make money. After all, data brokerage is a $200 billion industry — and one of the best ways to track you is through tech gadgets and social media.

Read more

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