Amazon Alexa overhears a couple’s private conversation and sends it to their random contacts as an audio file

    Alexa, the virtual assistant operating in the Amazon Smart Speakers named ECHO is said to have overheard a private conversation of a couple in Portland and alleged to have sent that conversation to one of their random contacts, triggering data privacy concerns.

    According to a report disclosed by a Seattle based television station KIRO, Alexa, the digital assistant on Amazon Echo devices recorded a private conversation between a woman named Danielle and her husband and sent that conversation as an audio file to the boss of the husband.

    The incident which took place in a family house located in Portland, Oregon, is an instance depicting total privacy invasion and has triggered new concerns among users of smart speakers manufactured by Google and Amazon.

    What caused the speakers to record the conversation and what made the virtual assistant send the romantic conversation of the couple to the employer still appears to be a mystery.

    When the couple complained the same to Amazon, it sent in an engineer to investigate the matter. The engineer discovered the recorded conversation in one of the log files and simply apologized for the error.

    Later Amazon clarified to the media that since the couple mentioned the word “ Alexa” in their conversation, it activated the VA in Echo which recorded their conversation. And probably the virtual assistant could have heard the word ‘send message’ in the couple’s romantic conversation which made it send the conversation as an audio file to one of the random contacts which happened to be the employer of Danielle Husband.

    Danielle says that she will never plug in the device ever again and will start looking for interested prospects on Ebay to sell the device. 

    Note- In order to use Alexa’s Calling and Message app to the core, one needs to sync the contacts of their phone’s address book to the Alexa app. This procedure will help you in easily sending audio responses to those on your address book provided they are using the Alexa services.

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    Naveen Goud
    Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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