Private conversation sent to third party — Amazon Echo nightmare

Amazon's Alexa records and shares private conversation

'Unlikely' string of events sees Amazon Alexa go rogue

But it happened to a couple in Portland where an Echo Dot smart speaker, powered by Alexa, reportedly secretly recorded a private conversation between a husband and wife and sent it to the man's colleague.

A woman named Danielle who did not give her last name told the station her family found out about the eavesdropping when one of her husband's employees called to tell them, "unplug your Alexa devices right now".

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.

"Unplug your Alexa devices right now, you're being hacked", Danielle recalled the voice saying. Amazon told KIRO that it "takes privacy very seriously" and is investigating what it called an "extremely rare occurrence". More than 60 million US consumers will use a smart speaker at least once a month this year, with more than 40 million of them using Amazon's devices, according to eMarketer Inc.

'I felt invaded, ' said the woman, who was identified only as Danielle in the report. "A total privacy invasion".

"I'm never plugging that device in again, because I can't trust it", she stressed.

One family is looking at their Amazon Alexa unit with a bit more caution after recent events.

"What makes it particularly unfortunate is the sense that Amazon Echo users will have that there's any prospect that what they say in their private home might end up outside the home", Calo said.

A recent incident has raised concerns about the security of voice-operated devices.

In a report to Engadget, Amazon officials offered a more detailed explanation.

"At which point, Alexa said out loud 'To whom?'" the statement said.

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. "Alexa then asked out loud, '[contact name], right?' Alexa then interpreted background conversation as 'right". They may have also mentioned a name that sounded just like the name of the man's employee and used words that may have been interpreted as confirmation to send a message. "At first, my husband was, like, 'no you didn't!' And then [they] said, 'You sat there talking about hardwood floors.' And we said, 'Oh gosh, you really did hear us!'"

However, Alexa's integration into society has been rocked by the claims of a family from Portland in the United States saying a private conversation was recorded by the diminutive device.

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