A U.S. couple was horrified to find out that their private conversation was recorded by Amazon's Echo voice-controlled device and sent to a work contact.
According to KIRO 7, Danielle - who had been talking with her husband about hardwood floors on the secretly recorded conversation - said she is hoping to receive a refund on her Alexa-powered devices. 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.
The family tried to contact Amazon about the disturbing incident with the company vowing to investigate the odd technical glitch.
"I felt invaded", she said.
Amazon is "evaluating options" in response to reports that a woman's "Alexa" smart speaker shared a private conversation with one of her contacts. At which point, Alexa said out loud "To whom?" Amazon said that the Echo device woke up due to a word in the background conversation and picked up words from that to send a message to the husband's employee. "Alexa then asked out loud, "[contact name], right?" A sentence in the following conversation sounded like "send message", and, after the virtual assistant asked who the recipient should be, Alexa chose a contact and sent a message based on what it heard. The family says they've deactivated and disconnected their Alexa speakers and have vowed to never use the device again.
The background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list. Last month researchers discovered a flaw in the Alexa voice assistant, enabling an Echo to continue listening to a person without them knowing.
It is a big question for most people but a fundamental one of Amazon, which is now having its own iPhone-like moment thanks to Alexa and devices such as Echo and Dot.
The representative "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, '" she said.
Ryan Calo, an associate law professor at the University of Washington, said the incident was alarming since a private conversation had been recorded and sent to a third party. This was a conversation Danielle didn't know was being recorded.
What is said on Alexa should stay on Alexa. Amazon quickly fixed the vulnerability after researchers alerted the company.
Amazon's Alexa isn't only listening to everything you say - it's absorbing it.