Is Alexa spying on you? Tips on how to delete your voice history from your smart home device

In this Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018, photo a child holds his Amazon Echo Dot in Kennesaw, Ga. Amazon updated its voice assistant with a feature that can make Alexa more kid-friendly. When the FreeTime feature is activated, Alexa answers certain questions differently. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart) (Mike Stewart, Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Do you ever wonder if your smart devices such as Amazon’s Echo device are spying on you?

The latest statistics show that as many as 60 million households in the U.S. are actively using smart devices in their home.

Just like anything connected to the internet, smart home devices can be hacked and used to spy on you. A recent study showed that one in two Americans are unaware that their webcam can be hacked.

Smart devices make our lives far more convenient, however, it can come at the expense of our own privacy. There are ways though to ensure your smart devices will stop snooping on you.

First, if someone calls or texts with photos of you and demands money, they probably have access to your devices and their cameras. If you see the light to the side of your laptop camera blink, it means the webcam is in use.

Second, if you can’t turn off the camera on some of your devices, but you would like some privacy, a simple piece of black tape over the camera eye is an easier option.

If your device’s battery drains quicker than usual, it means your camera may be constantly in use by a hacker. To protect yourself, first, know exactly what features your devices have and how to control them. You can do a basic internet search with your model number and type in the words “microphone” “camera” or “privacy.”

Also, be sure to delete your data. Voice assistant devices like the Amazon Echo and Alexa record all your voice conversations.

Another tip is to turn off your Wi-Fi when you leave. Keeping your Wi-Fi on 24 seven makes it easier for cyber-criminals to hack your devices and inject them with spyware. This is why you should turn off your router when you leave the house. Doing so will not only minimize the chances of hackers hijacking your systems, but it will also lower your utility bills.

To learn more on how to adjust your privacy settings on your Amazon Echo device, click here.

About the Authors:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 3, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.