It’s natural to worry about privacy in this rapidly-growing information age. In fact, if you’re not worried about it, you probably should be.
But along with such concerns come a lot of convenient and useful services, like Audible. So, it can be difficult to decide what to use and enjoy, and what to avoid for fear of a privacy breach.
Audible.com is owned by Amazon, one of the biggest corporations out there, and large corporations are notorious for taking data whenever they can get away with it.
Here’s What You Need to Know About Data Privacy and Audible:
Audible collects various types of data as stated on its Privacy Information page. Data on reading and purchasing habits is collected, including app usage across different user devices. Users can request that Audible delete all data collected from them, but this requires the closure of one’s account.
What Privacy Settings Do you Have Access to with Audible?
From your Account Details page, you can change some minor privacy-adjacent settings like whether or not you want to filter adult content.
You can also change your in-app notification settings if you don’t want to receive notifications in the Audible app.
This doesn’t mean there’s not more you can do to control your privacy because there is, but Audible certainly doesn’t make it easily accessible.
You can use the Request My Data page to see what data Amazon.com (the owner of Audible.com) has collected on you. If you have a more specific request or can’t find the data you’re looking for with the Request My Data tool, contact the customer service team to make a request.
Adjusting browser settings or other tools can withhold certain data, such as disallowing cookies. Note that this may impair site/app functionality.
You can opt-out of interest-based adverts to prevent being shown adverts based on your personal data and you can opt-out of email notifications.
Another way to increase privacy is to browse Audible.com, Amazon.com, or the audible app anonymously. However, you will not be able to make purchases or use your account.
What Is the Bare Minimum Data you Need to Share with Audible?
If you want to browse anonymously, you can disable cookies and look at the sites without signing in, sharing very little if anything.
Assuming you disable cookies and opt-out of all notifications and interest-based ads, Audible will still collect a certain amount of information from you to allow you to use their services.
The following is not an exhaustive list, but it contains most of the key items Audible will always collect on you if you use their service:
- Personal information provided when creating your account, such as name, address, and so on.
- Browsing and listening habits, such as what titles you look at, which ones you listen to, which you reject, how long you listen, which parts you skip or re-play, etc.
- Purchasing habits, such as what titles you purchase, how you use your credits, and so on.
- Any information you provide by interacting with Alexa (so be careful what you say around her, or consider not using Alexa at all).
- IP address.
- Login information.
- Any phone numbers or email addresses used to contact customer service, as well as anything you tell them during a customer service interaction.
Please also check out our Audible Membership and Subscription Easy Guide!
Does Audible Keep Your Data When you Delete Your Account?
By default, they sure will keep all that data. Data is a precious resource to corporations and can be very profitable.
You can submit a request to the customer service team to delete all data held on you.
Can you Ask Audible to Delete Your Data?
Audible does allow you to delete your data. However, users need to manually submit a customer service request and ask them to delete all data they have on them.
This comes at the potentially steep cost of deleting your Amazon.com and Audible.com accounts entirely.
There doesn’t really seem to be a middle ground either. You can’t ask them to delete as much data as possible and keep using their services.
Instead, it’s an all-or-nothing choice between keeping your accounts or nuking the whole thing to safeguard your privacy.
What Data Does Audible Have Access to About Me?
Any time you provide information, like your personal details when making an account, Audible — and by extension, Amazon — now has this information.
This applies to any time you fill out a survey, voluntarily add information to your profile, interact with a customer service representative, or even talk to Alexa.
Anything you say to Alexa can be recorded and cataloged as another piece of data that Amazon has.
So if you want to give Audible and Amazon as little information as possible, don’t give out any details you don’t have to, don’t fill out volunteer surveys, and do not use Alexa at all.
How Safe Is Audible to Use?
It’s almost impossible to prevent data collection without avoiding technology entirely.
Your data is valuable because it can be sold to third parties, such as advertisers.
As such, the internet is chock full of entities that want to harvest and use your information for their own ends.
Audible is no exception to this rule, but it’s also not really much better or worse than any other paid online service, from what we can tell.
So, if by “safe,” you mean “Can I use this service without giving away any personal information at all?” then no, Audible is definitely not safe.
If by “safe,” you mean “Can I use this service without endangering my cyber security?” then yes, Audible’s probably safe.
Make sure to also read our article about how many books you can have on Audible!
Have There Been any Malware Issues with the Audible App?
We couldn’t find any hard information on this one, but the Audible app is probably pretty safe from malware.
We found scattered user reports of what appeared to be malware interactions with the Audible app, but none were confirmed one way or another and may not have originated from the app.
So we can’t be 100% certain, but we couldn’t find any major concerns with malware and the Audible app.
Does Audible Share your Data with Third-Party Companies?
Whenever a corporation collects your data for any reason, you should assume they’re going to share it with third parties if they can possibly get away with it.
Specifically, Audible uses your browsing and purchasing data in conjunction with third-party advertisers for their Interest-Based Ads.
You can read details on what data is used and how it is used on Audible’s Interest-Based Ads Notice page.
You can also opt-out of Interest-Based Ads entirely on Amazon’s Advertising Preferences page.
Have There Been any Incidents with Audible Sharing Sensitive Data?
We weren’t able to find any instances specifically related to Audible.com, but its parent company Amazon has a long and storied history of data breaches.
Several of the incidences are traced to individual malicious employees or ex-employees and are thus, arguably, not the fault of the company itself.
However, there are also multiple cases in which Amazon itself is responsible for violating privacy regulations, such as a 2021 violation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.
The bottom line is that you’re taking a risk when you use any Amazon service, as a breach is always possible and many have happened and probably will keep happening.
However, the same can be said about nearly any company, product, or service on the market, and only you can decide whether that risk is worth the benefits such a service provides.