"The American people deserve to understand how their personal data is being used by tech companies, and I will continue to work with both consumers and companies to identify how to best protect Americans' personal information", Coons was quoted as saying in a statement by CNET. Amazon said in the letter.
"We have an ongoing effort to ensure those transcripts do not remain in any of Alexa's other storage systems" after a user deletes a recording and Amazon removes it from their primary storage systems, the company's VP of Public Policy Brian Huseman wrote, acknowledging that servers "may still retain other records of customers' Alexa interactions, including records of actions Alexa took in response to the customer's request".
In 2018, Amazon reassured Coons that it built user privacy by design into its Alexa product.
Amazon's Alexa intelligent assistant and its Echo-based smart speakers are once again at the centre of a privacy row.
The company also notes that when customers interact with an Alexa skill - such as when they place Amazon Fresh orders, request an Uber or Lyft, or order a Domino's pizza - that "Amazon and/or the applicable skill developer obviously needs to keep a record of the transaction".
Huseman writes that it keeps these recordings because "customers would not want or expect deletion of the voice recording to delete the underlying data or prevent Alexa from performing the requested task".
"We retain customers' voice recordings and transcripts until the customer chooses to delete them", Amazon said-but even then there are exceptions.
As for the goal of the data, Amazon claims the transcripts are used to train Alexa and to help customers communicate better. Amazon's response to privacy allegations Amazon didn't directly accept the allegations but responded that there was a bug and Amazon has since fixed the issue.
Amazon indicates that it maintains the transcripts as a measure to train Alexa and thus improve the user experience in their interaction.
Amazon made the confession that it doesn't always delete Alexa and Echo user's stored data.
Coons appreciates Amazon's response, however he's still anxious about privacy concerns.
Not to be outdone by Chromecast Audio, Amazon has its own audio dongle called Echo Input, including Bluetooth, a microphone and a 3.5mm jack. "What's more, the extent to which this data is shared with third parties, and how those third parties use and control that information, is still unclear", Coons added.
Amazon's response to all questions is available here.