How to Prevent Your Alexa Device From Recording Your Private Conversations

iStock.com/seewhatmitchsee
iStock.com/seewhatmitchsee

Yet another user of an Alexa device received shocking news that one of their private conversations had been recorded and sent off to a stranger—this time to a man in Germany who had requested his own Amazon data from the company. Although Engadget says this particular instance was due to “human error” on Amazon’s end, previous cases involving accidental audio recordings have resulted from the Echo misinterpreting something as a command.

If you’re worried about inadvertently letting your boss in on a private conversation, you can tweak some of your Echo settings to make it far less likely to happen.

The surest preventative measure you can take is to deny Alexa access to your contacts when you first set up your device. If you’ve already enabled access, you can call Amazon’s customer service department at 877-375-9365 and have them remove the service. Sure, this process is “clunky” and takes about 10 minutes to complete, according to Lifehacker, but it gets the job done. You won’t be able to make calls or send texts as quickly, but you’ll have some peace of mind knowing that your contacts won’t be forced to listen to your conversation about hardwood floors.

It's also a good idea to change Alexa’s “wake word,” which prompts the device to start heeding your command. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t let you choose your own wake word—so you won't be able to switch it to supercalifragilistic—but you can switch it to Computer, Amazon, or Echo. USA Today recommends trying out different options to see which one is less likely to be confused for another word in your household. Just call out, “Alexa, change the wake word,” or follow these steps to change it in the Alexa app.

When in doubt, you can manually turn off the Echo's microphone at any time. Just press the microphone button on the device to ensure you won’t be heard or recorded during particularly sensitive conversations. And if you're going to use your device often, be sure to keep the volume turned up high enough that you can hear it. That way, when Alexa asks to confirm your expletive-laden message to grandma, you can catch it before it’s too late.

[h/t Engadget]

Wednesday’s Best Amazon Deals Include Computer Monitors, Plant-Based Protein Powder, and Blu-ray Sets

Amazon
Amazon
As a recurring feature, our team combs the web and shares some amazing Amazon deals we’ve turned up. Here’s what caught our eye today, December 2. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers, including Amazon, and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Good luck deal hunting!

This All-in-One Storage Solution Can Be Used at Home or Carried on the Go

RUX/Indiegogo
RUX/Indiegogo

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Whether you're looking for a durable storage solution for your garage or a roomy pack for a long camping trip, the collapsible RUX carrier can help keep your stuff safe and secure without taking up much room in your closet when you're done. And until December 10, you can support the project on Indiegogo.

The main idea of the RUX is to serve multiple purposes at once. You can carry it around like a backpack or duffle bag during a weekend trip outdoors, or you can use it as a stationary storage bin for your car or home. Despite being strong enough to hold your bulkiest gear, it only weighs around four pounds and is designed to be collapsible, so you can fold it up and slip it away afterwards. (Unfolded, the RUX comes in at 15.7 by 19.5 by 13.8 inches.)

And if you're looking to use it during more serious outdoor adventures, you can rest assured that its weatherproof construction will keep your stuff dry in the rain. There's even a window that allows you to double-check that your items are safe and sound.

RUX/Indiegogo

The RUX was created with sustainability and longevity in mind. Not only does the RUX have a lifetime warranty, but each component can also come off and be replaced easily so you can continue using the product no matter the problem. RUX is a member of 1% For The Planet, which is a group that gives back 1 percent of sales to environmental causes, even if they are not profitable.

There is still time to back the RUX campaign and reap the rewards. If you back $196, you’ll get your first RUX along with it. However, if you back $265, you’ll get one RUX, two divider totes, an EDC pouch, and two utility straps. If you back $449, you’ll get all the same things from the second level along with an extra RUX. If you want to back $515 or $725, you’ll get double or triple everything, respectively, from the second level.

The RUX campaign ends on December 10, so there is still time to back this product through Indiegogo. Shipments of RUX will hopefully start by June 2021.

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