Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
The company asserts that the data is used to improve Amazon Echo. That's not uncommon. Apple stores anonymized Siri data for up to two years in order to improve the product. Amazon's reason is likely the same, using your data -- and everyone else's -- to improve the way Echo understands you.
"When a customer deletes a voice recording, we delete the transcripts associated with the customer's account of both of the customer's request and Alexa's response," Amazon said in a statement. "We already delete those transcripts from all of Alexa's primary storage systems, and we have an ongoing effort to ensure those transcripts do not remain in any of Alexa's other storage systems."
Here's what you can do to make sure they're (almost) completely deleted.
Option 1: Delete recordings via app
To delete your recordings, go to the Amazon Echo app. Open Settings > Alexa Privacy > Review Voice History.
You'll see a list of all the requests you've made since setting up your Echo. You can choose the recordings you want to delete or tap Delete All Recordings for Today.
You can also delete all recordings in the Alexa app by customizing a date range, or by choosing "All History" to delete it all.
Option 2: Delete everything via browser
If you're using a browser, there's a way to delete all voice data in one fell swoop. Head to www.amazon.com/myx, sign in, and click Your Devices. Find your Echo in the list, then click Delete Voice Recordings.
You'll see a warning message explaining why you might want to keep those recordings; click Delete if you wish to proceed.
Option 3: Ask Alexa to delete your voice transcripts
This should take care of both the voice recordings and transcripts, in addition to deleting Alexa's response, according to Amazon. However, those transcripts still exist in other parts of Amazon's servers, so it's not a complete erasure yet.
To completely remove your voice recordings and transcriptions, you can also contact Amazon customer service at (888) 280-4331 to make a formal request.
Watch this: Here's what Amazon revealed about Alexa privacy to a US senator
How do I listen to my voice recordings?
In the Amazon Alexa app, go to Settings > Alexa Account > Alexa Privacy > Review Voice History. Tap the arrow on the audio file you want to listen to and tap the play icon.