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Facing New Rivals, Amazon May Open Up Alexa Data for Developers

Amazon.com is mulling a far-reaching policy change that would give Alexa developers access to raw transcripts of what people say when using Alexa applications, said three people familiar with the matter. It comes as the market for voice-activated speakers and digital assistants is getting more crowded, spotlighting the value of signing up developers for new apps.

Amazon's current policy blocking access has frustrated developers and put the company at a disadvantage to Google, which has told Google Home developers they can get similar data.

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One reason Amazon is concerned with privacy is that intelligent home speakers like the Echo are still new, and the company wants to avoid any impression that the device is eavesdropping on users. “Amazon is very concerned about privacy and security, and they’re all about protecting user data. They have been extremely cautious that a public perception would form that the Echo is always listening and recording,” said David Phillips, co-founder of 3PO-Labs, a company that builds tools for Alexa developers.

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