Amazon has admitted to hiring thousands of people around the world to use human transcriptions to “improve the customer experience.” The primary idea is to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers, a Bloomberg report said.

The team uses voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices to transcribe, annotate and then feed back into the software. This ultimately helps in making Alexa’s understanding of human speech better, the report added.

“We take the security and privacy of our customers’ personal information seriously. We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order [to] improve the customer experience. For example, this information helps us train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone,” an Amazon spokesperson was quoted as saying.

A significant workforce in Amazon offices in Boston, India, Costa Rica and Romania (along with some contractors) listens to audio clips.

However, Amazon assured that it doesn’t provide direct access to individual information to its employees to prevent misuse of the system. “All information is treated with high confidentiality and we use multi-factor authentication to restrict access, service encryption and audits of our control environment to protect it,” the spokesman added.

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