Woman Claims Alexa Recorded Private Conversation and Sent it to People

Amazon devices recording, sending your conversations?

A woman in OR broke up with her Amazon Echo devices after they recorded a private conversation and then sent it to someone on the family's contact list.

On Wednesday, a woman in Portland, Oregon, told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an employee of her husband had contacted them to say he thought their device had been hacked.

The employee said that Alexa, Amazon's popular voice assistant, had recorded the family's conversation and sent it to him.

"Alexa then asked out loud, '(contact name), right?' Alexa then interpreted background conversation as "right", an Amazon spokesperson said. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely. But from what the woman told KIRO, it seems she and her husband didn't hear those questions.

Amazon's Alexa voice interface is in hot water after a United States family claimed a private conversation was recorded and forwarded by the Echo platform. "At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list", said the statement. The company said it would disable the phrase "Alexa, laugh" and instead change the command to "Alexa, can you laugh?" to ensure less false positives. She stated that the company representative did not answer why Alexa recorded her conversation, or if it is a common issue.

She said the pair had unplugged all Echo devices that they relied on to control heating, lights and security at home.

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Danielle explained her whole house was wired with Amazon devices, something not uncommon for fans of the Alexa units.

This ensures the listening possibilities are "practically endless with an Audible membership", with more about listening to Audible with Alexa available here.

Danielle said she listened to the conversation when it was sent back to her. He told her the device "just guessed" what her and her husband were saying. Amazon told KIRO that it "takes privacy very seriously" and is investigating what it called an "extremely rare occurrence".

Amazon has offered to "de-provision" her devices from the internet, meaning they would still be able to use the Smart Home features, but it wouldn't be able to send messages outside the home.

Although Amazon maintains this was a malfunction rather than proof Alexa is always listening, the company has filed patent applications in the past for functionalities that involve always listening, such as an algorithm that would analyse when people say they "love" or "bought" something. "Alexa then asked out loud, "[contact name], right?"

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