Amazon Data Privacy

Amazon has grown from a bookstore to an everything store - to the maker of devices that listen and watch what’s happening around the house.

amazon settings

  • Amazon keeps a recording of everything you’ve ever said to its talking artificial intelligence gadget Alexa - and also, we’ve learned recently, some things you didn’t intend to say to Alexa.

    You can listen to what Amazon has recorded by going to the Alexa app, then tapping Settings, then History. There you can delete individual entries.

    You can delete a whole bunch of recordings at once by logging in to your Amazon account on the Web, then looking under Account and Lists settings and finding Manage your content and devices (or, just use this link). Find your Echo or other Alexa device in the list, then click manage voice recordings.

    Amazon’s settings don’t offer as much as you might want: There’s no setting to stop Alexa from saving recordings in the future.
    What you give up: An audio history of all your goofy questions for Alexa - or your children asking her to help with homework.

  • Here’s a fun idea next time you’re at a house party: Go up to an Echo speaker, and order its owner a 10-pound bucket of sea salt. Surprise! Anyone with access to your Echo speaker can order products on Amazon.

    In the Alexa app on your phone, under Settings, scroll to Voice Purchasing, and turn it off - or at least put a voice code in place that your kids (or terrible friends) won’t guess.
    What you give up: Super quick product ordering to feed your Prime addiction.

amazon wishlists

  • Your Amazon “wish list” is open to the public by default. Yes, it’s nice to buy someone a gift - but I’m doubtful everyone understands their wishes are open to everyone. You can search people by name at the link here.
    Set your list to private by using this link clicking on your wish list, then clicking on the three dots next to the share list, then tapping manage list, then changing Privacy to Private.
    What you give up: surprise presents you actually want from people who don’t really know you well enough to just ask.

  • Amazon knows more than Santa about what you’d like for Christmas. It keeps a log of every Amazon product you look at, not just the ones you buy.
    Stop Amazon from tracking you by clicking Browsing History on Amazon’s homepage and clicking View and Edit (or just use this link), then clicking on Manage history, and turning it Off.
    What you give up: Personalized recommendations for product categories you may or may not want your family members to know you were looking at.

n.b. If you have Amazon accounts in the UK (.co.uk), Spain (.es), US (.com), or any other, Germany for instance (.de)  you will need to visit each of these sites to change settings. Replace dot com in your browser with the correct country code.