Woman says Amazon Echo recorded private conversation, sent to one of her contacts

Woman says Amazon Echo recorded private conversation, sent to one of her contacts

This could be seriously bad for Amazon.   If this story gains traction (I have a feeling it will), this could be a disaster that is billions of dollars in size.

Gary Horcher from KIRO7.com wrote:

A Portland family contacted Amazon to investigate after they say a private conversation in their home was recorded by Amazon’s Alexa — the voice-controlled smart speaker — and that the recorded audio was sent to the phone of a random person in Seattle, who was in the family’s contact list.

”My husband and I would joke and say I’d bet these devices are listening to what we’re saying,” said Danielle, who did not want us to use her last name.

”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.’”

Danielle listened to the conversation when it was sent back to her, and she couldn’t believe someone 176 miles away heard it too.

”I felt invaded,” she said. “A total privacy invasion. Immediately I said, ‘I’m never plugging that device in again, because I can’t trust it.

If this is true,  it's a total and complete breach of trust with Amazon.   We've been told over and over that the Alexa only records when it hears the trigger word and waits for a command.   While it is doing that,  it has a light ring on the device that lights up to alert the user that it's recording.

If it was able to record without the light being on,  and sent that recording without the user's permission to someone in their phone contacts.   Well, this could put Amazon in a world of trouble.

The most annoying part of this article is the fact that there are so few details.   HOW was the information sent?  Via text,  via email?   It seems like an awfully strange path for a bug to take.

I have a (unfortunate) sneaking suspicion that this may be something malicious that was added by someone in the staff at Amazon,   and that was accidentally triggered somehow
(a certain phrase or frequency of sound perhaps?).

Amazon for their part issued an apology for the incident stating:

Amazon takes privacy very seriously. We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future.

Pretty weak considering the magnitude of this issue.   I have an Amazon Echo in my home.   I'm considering unplugging it for good after this.   I suggest you consider the same.