Amazon’s voice-controlled smart speaker recorded a private conversation between an Oregon women and her husband and sent it to it to someone in their contact list.
Let’s just hope they didn’t say anything inappropriate.
"My husband and I would joke and say I'd bet these devices are listening to what we're saying," Danielle, who did not want us to use her last name, told a local television station.
At the time, every room in her home was equipped with the smart device, which controlled the temperature, lighting, and her security system. It seemed like a pretty ideal setup until one day she got a phone call from her husband’s employee.
"The person on the other line said, 'unplug your Alexa devices right now,'" she said. "'You're being hacked.'"
Danielle wasted no time in acting.
"We unplugged all of them and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house," she said. "At first, my husband was, like, 'no you didn't!' And the (recipient of the message) said 'You sat there talking about hardwood floors.' And we said, 'oh gosh, you really did hear us.'"
She said she felt invaded and immediately called Amazon. A spokesperson confirmed to the news station that an engineer investigating the incident confirmed Alexa had recorded a private conversation and sent it to someone more than 100 miles away, but not because the device was hacked. They claim it was a misunderstanding.
“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?'” explained Amazon in a statement sent to the television station.
At that point, Alexa interpreted the conversation as a name in Danielle’s contact list.
“Alexa then asked out loud, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right’,” said Amazon.
As unlikely as this string of events is, the company says they are working to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future. Although it's not the first time Alexa has gone a little rogue. They offered to “de-provision” the device so Danielle could continue using it as a smart-home device, but what she really wants is a full refund – something she says Amazon hasn’t agreed to.
"I felt invaded. A total privacy invasion. Immediately I said, 'I'm never plugging that device in again, because I can't trust it,'” she said. "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.”
[H/T: KIRO7 News]