Worst nightmare of Amazon Alexa customer comes true

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.

As background, a family in Portland, Oregon had been having a conversation - you know, as many families do while they're at home - about hardwood flooring.

Amazon Alexa caught recording a private conversation and then forwarding it to a random person on contact list.

"The person on the other line said, 'unplug your Alexa devices right now, '" Danielle told the station. The couple who did not wish to reveal their full identity spoke to KIRO7 on a first name basis.

When contacted by the family, Amazon said it takes privacy "very seriously", but downplayed the incident as an "extremely rare occurrence". "Alexa then asked out loud, '[contact name], right?' Alexa then interpreted background conversation as 'right". Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a "send message" request. After asking "to Whom?" should the message be sent, more background conversation was interpreted as a name in the family contacts list.

Although Amazon may claim the string of events was "unlikely", what was likely is that an always-on technology that constantly listens to everything in a room could intentionally or accidentally record a conversation without the permission of the user to begin with.

"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 the news outlet.

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This would seem to confirm that Alexa is recording at least snippets of conversation without using the wake word, but Amazon is insisting this isn't the case. "This is something we need to fix", Amazon said in a statement.

Amazon's Alexa isn't only listening to everything you say - it's absorbing it.

The engineer did not explain why it happened, though.

Command "Alexa, send a message to (enter contact name)" and Amazon's smart assistant will follow your instructions.

Amazon has taken a lot of heat in the past because of conspiracy theories suggesting that the device might be sharing conversations with Central Intelligence Agency and NSA.

The market for smart speakers is on a rise as both companies and customers are investing in it. The woman said the device never told them it was preparing to send the recording.

Danielle told KIRO 7 that the device did not tell her that it would be sending the recorded conversations. Several users have reported that Alexa creepily laughed at them for no apparent reason.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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