“I appreciate that Amazon responded promptly to my concerns, and I’m encouraged that their answers demonstrate an understanding of the importance of and a commitment to protecting users’ personal information,” he said, in a statement published to his website. “However, Amazon’s response leaves open the possibility that transcripts of user voice interactions with Alexa are not deleted from all of Amazon’s servers, even after a user has deleted a recording of his or her voice. 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.  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,” he added. While many companies retain user data indefinitely, the increased focus on consumer privacy as regulators investigate big tech is starting to drive change. For example, last week Google rolled out a new feature that lets consumers configure their account settings to automatically delete location history on iOS and Android. But this is after years of hoovering up user data, and still requires manual action. Still, many would argue that voice assistants should at least offer a similar setting: a way to set voice data to auto-delete, instead of having to remember to do so manually. It’s worth pointing out that Amazon is not alone in hoarding user voice data. Google also saves voice and audio clips to users’ accounts with an option to review and delete recordings. While saving data is its default, it does allow users to turn voice and audio activity off, if they prefer. Apple, meanwhile, saves Siri voice recordings for 6 months, then saves a copy of the data in a more anonymized fashion for up to two years longer. But more broadly, there are concerns around Amazon’s review process itself and its lack of attention to user privacy. As Bloomberg recently found, Amazon workers and contractors had access to the recordings, as well as an account number, the user’s first name, and the device’s serial number during the review process. And they were also found to have been sharing audio clips in internal company chat rooms — either to get help with transcribing or to have a laugh at a funny recording. In other words, there’s not a culture of privacy at Amazon when it comes to how a company should respect consumer’s private data. That’s different from Apple’s stance these days, where it aims to balance its need for some data retention with consumers’ desire for increased privacy. In light of most big tech companies’ inability to properly self-police, there will ultimately be regulations put into place, as these companies insert themselves ever further into our lives. Now, they’re no longer just collecting data as we type into a keyboard or as we move around the world with a phone; they’re in our homes, listening to us and our children as we talk to their systems directly. Amazon was asked for further comment regarding Coons’ statement.