Many of us use voice assistants and smart speakers in our homes, whether it's Amazon's Alexa or Google Home, to help us with innocuous tasks such as playing music, giving you updates about the weather or making phone calls.
What we may not realize is that, in some instances, someone else could be eavesdropping on your conversations, too. Security researchers have also found malicious apps that can eavesdrop on you through your Echo speaker.
Amazon and Google have already admitted that they store some audio recordings of users and these clips are then reviewed by staff members in order to improve their voice assistants. Since then, both tech giants have started allowing users to choose whether or not they want their audio recordings to be collected.
However, if you're still concerned about your privacy, here's what you can do to prevent strangers from listening to your voice commands and wiping out all the interactions you've made with the device.
How to stop the device from listening ?
Amazon: If you have an Amazon device such as an Echo speaker you can prevent Amazon executives from listening in on your conversations by going to the Settings tab in the Alexa app, then go to Alexa Privacy and Manage Your Alexa Data. Here, disable the toggle switch that says "Use Voice Recordings to Improve Amazon Services to Develop New Features."
Google: Google has already suspended human review of audio recordings but if you're still cautious, go to myaccount.google.com, click on Web & App Activity, and uncheck the box that reads "Include voice and audio recordings."
How to delete voice recordings?
Amazon: Amazon added two new voice commands for Alexa that allow users to delete voice transcripts. All you need to do is use the wake-up command, which is "Alexa" by default and then say "Delete everything I said today" or "Delete what I just said."
If you'd like to erase your entire history, open the Alexa app, go to Settings->Alexa Privacy ->Review Voice History -> Delete All Recordings for All History.
Google: In order to delete your voice command history, go to to myaccount.google.com -> Data and Personalization -> Web & App Activity -> Manage Activity -> and then hit the three stacked dots menu located at the top of the screen before selecting Delete Activity by, and then choose from the options available: all time, last hour, last day, etc. Hit Delete to confirm.
Alternatively, you can just tell Google to delete your entire history by saying "Hey Google, delete everything I just said."