Whether it’s Apple, Amazon, or Google, our eventual robot overlords have now been officially invited inside a good number of American homes.
I mean, if these things are like vampires, we’ve definitely made the wrong move.
If you are one of the households with a listening robot (or more than one – guilty), you might be wondering if there’s a way to maintain your privacy now that they’re in your house (and linked to your Amazon account).
If you’re worried about Alexa listening in and using your information (or accidentally sending it to someone else, which has happened to a few unfortunate souls), you can tweak some of your Echo or Echo Dot settings to make it less likely.
First, you want to make sure you don’t give Alexa access to your contacts when you set up your device. If you’ve already enabled that feature, you’ll need to call customer service (877-375-9365) to have them remove it. It does mean that you won’t be able to use Alexa to make calls or send texts, but it also ensures that nothing she (it) overhears could be sent to people you know.
You can also change the “wake word” from Alexa. You only have a few other choices (computer, Amazon, or Echo), but if one of those is less likely to be confused with another word you use commonly in your household, they might be way to go. Ideally, if you use a word she’s less likely to hear (or be tricked into hearing), she won’t “wake up” and start listening on accident.
You can easily change this setting by simply talking to your device or using the Alexa app on your phone or iPad.
If you know you’re having a sensitive conversation that you definitely wouldn’t want anyone – the big box store included – overhearing, the best bet is to manually turn off the microphone by simply pushing the button on your device.
Lastly? Make doubly sure the volume is up high enough that you can hear her asking if it’s okay to send an email or text because you probably don’t want her to mistake silence for a yes.
That’s just not how consent works, Alexa.