Alexa, are you spying on me? A Portland family found out that a private conversation they had was recorded by an Amazon Echo and then was sent to someone on their contact list. The report instantly sparked concern and outrage that Amazon’s Echo smart speaker is listening to and recording much more than the company claims. The woman who reported the claim said that one of her husband’s co-workers reached out to her family saying they received a text message with an audio recording of the couple’s conversations.
The woman, who felt invaded, told a local news company that she felt “invaded” and will never be “plugging that device again.” An Amazon spokesperson explained that the “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 customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right.'”
When an Echo hears its wake word, “Alexa,” it will send what the user said to the cloud for processing. Once it decides to send after “Alexa” hears a “Voice Message” it will make sure that it heard it correctly, then continues to record until the user stops talking. Amazon is looking over the matter because it finds it pretty strange that the convo was heard so wrong. Technology is far from flawless, if you have to have a serious conversation regarding family life, job security or any type of personal issues, always turn off your Echo. If you really love your privacy then an Echo may just not be for you and your family, despite what the new tech fads are.
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