Amazon Echo Recorded A Family Conversation And Sent It To A Random Person
When being listened to isn't a good thing.
Thanks to Amazon, many households have a friend called Alexa, and it turns out she is a REALLY good listener. Too good in fact.
A family in Oregon in the United States discovered this first hand when a contact informed them their Alexa-powered Echo was listening to their every word.
And how did the contact know this for certain?
Well, Echo had listened to their conversation without their knowledge and then sent the recording to a random contact, which happened to be an employee of the family's father.
“Unplug your Alexa devices right now. You're being hacked,” the employee said, according to KIRO 7.
Mother of the family Danielle told KIRO she had no idea Echo was recording her, or that the recording had been sent to someone else.
While it's common to joke about our devices listening to us, it's easy to forget they actually have this capability.
In this case, background noise was to blame. In a statement issued to The Washington Post on Thursday, Amazon said Echo woke up by hearing what it thought was someone saying 'Alexa'.
Echo is said to also have heard 'send message' and the name of a person in the family's contact list. Amazon said Echo heard all this from what must have been background conversation.
This is the first time this type of incident has been reported, and while it's extremely rare, an investigation is underway.
Just last month researchers discovered a flaw in the Alexa voice assistant that allowed it to listen to people's conversations without them knowing. Conversations are only supposed to be recorded after Echo hears a 'wake word', which it thought it heard in this case.