Alexa records couple's private conversation, sends it to random contact
Recorded in their own home, a private conversation sent to a random contact.
“My husband and I would randomly joke sometimes like I bet these devices are listening to what we are saying,” said Danielle through a Skype interview with our CBS Affiliate KIRO.
However, the joke was on Danielle.
She told KIRO her Amazon Echo recorded a private conversation she was having with her husband, then sent it to one of their contacts.
“I felt invaded, like total privacy invasion,” Danielle said.
Danielle used her Echo for everything from turning up the heat to turning off the lights. However, she was shocked when the contact called her, describing the private conversation Alexa sent their way.
Upset, she claims she called Amazon and smoke with an Alexa specialist.
“And said we really appreciate you bringing this to our attention, this is something we need to fix… he said the device guessed what we were saying,” Danielle said.
No stranger to the Amazon device, tech expert Craig Agranoff says if you’re going to have a private conversation, you need to mute the microphone.
“Outside of that, you should expect what you plugged into the wall to do what it’s supposed to do which is listen to you and respond to you,” he said.
Amazon issued CBS 12 the following statement:
Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like 'Alexa.' Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a 'send message' request. At which point, Alexa said out loud 'To whom?' At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, '[contact name], right?' Alexa then interpreted background conversation as “right”. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.