Amazon: Echo device recorded conversation, sent it to family's contact

Amazon: Echo device recorded conversation, sent it to family's contact

Amazon: Echo device recorded conversation, sent it to family's contact

Amazon's Alexa recorded an OR woman's private conversations and sent them to a random contact in her family's address book, she told local station KIRO 7 in a report published Thursday.

The online shopping giant admitted that an "unlikely" string of events prompted an Echo personal assistant device to start snooping on its owners at their home in Portland, Oregon.

Danielle said she called Amazon repeatedly.

Amazon, when she eventually got hold of the company, had an engineer check the logs, and he apparently discovered what they said was true. Amazon did not immediately comment on the matter, but it previously told The New York Times that it has taken steps to keep its devices secure.

What could have happened?

'A husband and wife in the privacy of their home have conversations that they're not expecting to be sent to someone [in] their address book, ' she told KIRO. And it did all this without saying anything back. The employee then sent the husband audio files of the chats that the Echo had sent, and the family promptly pulled the plug on all of them.

Next, the subsequent conversation included something that, to Alexa, sounded like a "send a message' request".

"At first, my husband was, like, 'no you didn't!' And the (recipient of the message) said 'You sat there talking about hardwood floors, '" Danielle told the station. "At which point, Alexa said out loud 'To whom?'" the statement said. "Alexa then asked out loud, "[contact name], right?"

'A total privacy invasion.

An Amazon customer service representative confirmed that Danielle's audio had been sent to the number and apologised but didn't provide any information about why the device had been activated. Following the events, Danielle has been trying to receive a full refund for her Alexa devices but says Amazon representatives have been unwilling to do so.

For the family, what were once silly thoughts became a scary reality.

Amazon explained that an unforseen combination of random words in a conversation the family didn't realize was being overheard by Alexa trigged an action no one expected, least of all Amazon, which is now working to make sure it doesn't happen again.

The couple did not initially believe it, until the man recounted their conversation that they believed was private.

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