Is Alexa Listening? Amazon Echo Sent Out Recording Of Couple’s Conversation
Alexa records audio. Is it true?
Amazon’s echo devices are always listening while being on the internet. But what happens when digital assistants like Alexa disrupt with your privacy? Is it possible for them to share our private conversations without our consent? Privacy advocates have already warned us that this could happen, and now it has.
How and where it started?
Ore, a woman from Portland, informed KIRO7, a television news station in Washington that her Amazon Echo device recorded a private conversation and then shared that recording with one of her husband’s employees in Seattle.
Critics were quick to react in this matter and said we told you so, as the news made its way to the internet and reached the trending charts.
What Amazon had to say?
Amazon apparently knows what happened. The woman who was identified as Danielle was chatting with her husband when the device’s virtual assistant. Alexa mistakenly heard a series of words that it took as commands and ended up recording it. Then forwarded that recording to one of the husband’s employees as a voice message.
While giving in a statement to the press it said, “During the conversation between the couple, the Echo gets turned on after hearing something near to ‘Alexa’. Then the next message was heard as a ‘send message’ request after which Alexa records audio to which it must have asked ‘to whom?’” Again subconsciously the conversation must have leaked a name to which Alexa must have asked loudly to confirm the contact name. “[contact name] right?” Alexa must have heard the words as ‘right’ and then forwarded it. “Now as weird as this event seems, we are still investigating this issue.”The team concluded.
What actually happened according to the couple?
In a recent interview, Danielle told KIRO7 that the Echo that forwarded her message was right next to her with the volume at seven during their conversation. She also said that “I wasn’t asked for my permission.”
The family has the same device in different corners of the house. They use to control the heat, lights and security system. Though two weeks back, Danielle’s husband suddenly got a call from one of his employees who told them recording he was forwarded.
“At first, we didn’t believe it and was like, ‘No you didn’t’,” Danielle told KIRO7. But after concluding everything we were like, “Oh gosh you really did.”
As quickly as possible they disconnected all the devices and reported it to the Amazon for investigation. They also demand a refund for them.
“I am never connecting it again. I don’t trust it.” She told KIRO7.
How people reacted after hearing this news?
After the news “Alexa records audio” went viral on social media, some took it with humour while others left alarmed for their safety.
Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot—Amazon’s main home devices have equipped with seven microphones and noise-cancelling technology. Amazon and Google have been the leading sellers of such devices.
Cases that emerged out after this incident
After this incident, many cases came out about Echo mishearing commands and ending up with unlikely results. This is the not the first time someone has reported an incident like this.
Many companies have reported that they have heard her laugh in rare circumstances to which Amazon replied that it must have heard the command “Alexa laugh” and then Amazon changed the phrase to “Alexa, can you laugh?”
Researchers at the University of California said in a published paper this month that they have proved that the technology on which the device works could have exploited too.
The researchers also said that they hide commands in recordings of music or spoken text that goes unnoticed by humans but could be understood by personal assistants like Apple’s Siri, Google’s assistant, and Amazon’s assistant.
Though the cases are low and the reasons explainable to an extent, no one would want their privacy exploited by getting their personal conversations recorded without saying a command like “Alexa record audio”.
So this is all about the case, now it’s on you. What do you think? Is Alexa records audio or not? Let us know your point of view in the comment section.