Amazon Echo secretly sent family's private audio to some random person

Amazon's Alexa has been caught recording the private conversation of a Portland-based coupled in the USA, and then sending that recording to someone else in the family's contact list.

The woman, named only as Danielle, told Portland radio station KIRO 7, that she received a call from a friend warning her she had been "hacked". Unfortunately, it seems that their smart speaker grew a mind of its own, recording a private conversation the family had in their home and then sending that recording as a file attachment to a person in their contacts that lived hundreds of miles away in Seattle, Washington. According to Amazon, Alexa had asked for a confirmation of the contact name to which the recording was sent, and it interpreted the background sound as a yes. Even Amazon agrees that this was an unlikely chain of events, but says it is working on ways to make it even more unlikely to repeat.

It wasn't until a random contact called to let them know that he'd received a call from Alexa that they realized their device had mistakenly transmitted a private conversation.

At which point, Alexa said out loud 'To whom?' At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list. Over and over again, company spokespeople have promised that they only start recording if someone says the wake word: "Alexa".

Thankfully, the recorded conversation was only about hardware floors, but the incident has still managed to spark fears of Alexa spying on its users. She said she would never plug the devices anymore.

But she said she'd much rather get a refund and says she's dumped all her Alexa devices from her home.

Amazon and rivals Apple, Google and Sonos have been pushing to integrate voice technology into all kinds of devices in the home, from speakers to cameras, thermostats and doorbells.

The family had an Echo device in every room of their house, which controlled the heat, light, and security system in their home.

The speaker later heard "send message" during the conversation, at which point the device asked, "to whom?" He also didn't explain why it could have happened.

"They said 'our engineers went through your logs, and they saw exactly what you told us, they saw exactly what you said happened, and we're sorry, '" Danielle told KIRO. He just said that the device guessed what they were saying. We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. The unusual behaviour was the result of a misheard command for which Amazon adjusted Alexa to not laugh unsettlingly at random.


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