According to the Information, Amazon is considering opening up access to private transcript data from its Alexa devices to third-party developers, raising concerns of privacy for users.
Amazon’s Echo system was one of the first mass-marketed home assistants available, giving it a head start over other devices such as Google Home. However, while Amazon currently does not allow developers access to everything users say, Google Home does; with Apple moving into the market as well, Amazon cannot afford to lose the lead it gained early on.
At the moment, developers making apps that will use Alexa are only permitted to see non-identifying information, such as location data, how often users talk to their devices, and how many times a specific “skill” is used. If full transcripts were visible to developers, the greater amount of data could be put to use in order to improve and fine-tune their applications.
Skill developer Ahmed Bouzid, an ex-product head for the Alexa team, said that the current access only gives developers “7o percent of what they need to know.” However, according to the Information, some teams already have full access to all the data that Alexa gathers; it is unclear who is exempt from the standard limitations or why.
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