Is Alexa Spying On You?

In a word, no. A Google search will turn up plenty of paranoid ravings about Amazon gathering Echo owners’ private conversations without their permission or knowledge, but take those posts for what they are: paranoid ravings.

The Echo is always on and always listening for your chosen wake word, but Alexa doesn’t start paying attention to you until she hears—or thinks she hears—the wake word. Even then, it doesn’t take much of a pause for Alexa to assume you’re done speaking and tune out. By now, I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of asking, “Alexa: play,” and then momentarily blanking out on the song or artist name, only to have a confused Alexa respond, “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand your request,” or something similar.

 

You Can Always Use The Mute Function

While it would be pretty counter-intuitive to think early adopters like us Echo owners are likely to believe these spying conspiracy theories, if it really concerns you there’s an easy way to stop your Echo from listening altogether. Press the Mute button on the top of your Echo (looks like a microphone with a line through it) and hold until the light ring at the top of your Echo turns red, then release. Your Echo won’t hear you, even if you speak the wake word, until you turn Mute off by pressing the Mute button again, this time until the light ring goes back to its pleasant blue-green colors.

 

Finally, if you’re still worried Alexa may be a spy you can always just ask her: “Alexa, are you spying on me?” 😉

 

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