It was recently discovered that Amazon employs thousands of people to listen to us talk to our Alexa-enabled devices. So, not only is Alexa listening as you ask her to play your favorite Britney Spears song, a whole bunch of other people might be too.
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According to a Bloomberg report, a global team of Amazon employees transcribe the voice commands once the wake word (Alexa) is detected. The transcriptions are then fed back into the software to improve Alexa's responses to human speech in the future.
If you don't want strangers listening to your voice (and sometimes sharing funny recordings in an internal chat room, according to the report), here's how to turn off the setting:
Go to Alexa's privacy page. In settings, select "Manage how your data improves Alexa." Then deselect the "Use voice recordings to develop new features" option, as well as the option to "Use messages to improve transcriptions."
You'll receive a warning that turning the features off may not allow new features to work well for you, but that risk may not outweigh having your voice available for Amazon employees to hear.