I read through the Amazon Alexa user agreement this morning because I was curious about how your voice was stored and used. What I was looking for was any excessive amount of personal data usage. The more I read into this, the more interesting it got and the more questions I had. I have referenced some interesting points that I cam across.
The first 2 points I found interesting was that your interactions with Alexa may be stored on servers outside which you live, and that interaction data is stored in a cloud. This could mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people. Possibly meaning that if you own Alexa outside the USA that it may be stored In the USA or visa versa. This could potentially mean that there may be different laws governing the saved data that we may have to decipher case by case. This reminds me of how online gambling websites are located outside the USA in order to legal operate inside the USA.
"1.3 Alexa Interactions. You control Alexa with your voice. Alexa streams audio to the cloud when you interact with Alexa. Amazon processes and retains your Alexa Interactions, such as your voice inputs, music playlists, and your Alexa to-do and shopping lists, in the cloud to provide, personalize, and improve our services. Learn more about these voice services including how to delete voice recordings associated with your account."
"3.1 Information. The Software will provide Amazon with information about your use of Alexa, your Alexa Interactions, and your Alexa Enabled Products and Auxiliary Products (such as device type, name, features, status, network connectivity, and location). This information may be stored on servers outside the country in which you live. We will handle any information we receive in accordance with the Amazon.com Privacy Notice."
This next point is extremely vague and does imply that there is potential for release of information when believed to be appropriate to comply with law, Amazons conditions of use, and "other agreements". Wow. So basically if you want to know what information could be released. You must know what laws Amazon is scanning for, all of Amazons Conditions of Use, and whatever "other agreements" means.
"Protection of Amazon.com and Others: We release account and other personal information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law; enforce or apply our Conditions of Use and other agreements; or protect the rights, property, or safety of Amazon.com, our users, or others. This includes exchanging information with other companies and organizations for fraud protection and credit risk reduction. Obviously, however, this does not include selling, renting, sharing, or otherwise disclosing personally identifiable information from customers for commercial purposes in violation of the commitments set forth in this Privacy Notice."
It is clear that Amazon Alexa is absolutely fishing and scanning for extra interest other than waiting for commands to play music or buy toilet paper. Im not saying that we have to worry about our safety, but we are potentially being observed and monitored far closer than we knew, all for the price of $49.99. Amazon is building user profiles around individuals to improve its ability to make sales and the funny part is that we are paying them to do it. I could go deeper into this rabbit hole but I fear it could make me loose my sanity. Our deeper personal information and even our basic personal information has real value, real dollar value that goes beyond just you as an individual. It is not worth paying money to give it away.