"Alexa, set the timer for 30 minutes," might seem like an innocuous request without much thought given to what then happens to that voice recording. But imagine having each and every one of your Alexa requests stored forever.
That's exactly what happens.
However, you can manually delete these recordings if you take the time to.
How did this information come to light?
Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware sent a letter to Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos in May this year concerned about how the Alexa software stored its information.
In Amazon's response to Coons, the company confirmed that all recordings and data are kept forever unless deleted manually. However, it's a little more complicated than that.
It isn't just Amazon that 'uses' Alexa's software. Amazon employs third parties to improve Alexa's skills. For example, if you ask Alexa to order you a pizza, purchase an article on Amazon, or book a taxi ride. "Amazon and/or the applicable skill developer obviously need to keep a record of the transaction," said Amazon.
No further clarification was offered on what type of data was stored.
So, even if Amazon deletes your actual voice recording of your Uber or Lyft order, including your pick up and drop off points, these outside companies keep a record of your use of their services.
How to delete your voice recordings
It's easy enough to delete your voice recordings though. Simply visit Amazon's website and click "Alexa Privacy Settings."
Navigate down and select which recordings you'd like to delete, or simply delete them all.