We’ve heard of Amazon Alexa’s penchant to burst out with creepy, unsolicited laughter now and again but this time it’s gone a step further.
A woman in Portland recently discovered that one of her Alexa-enabled devices had recorded a private conversation and sent it to a person in her contact list. There are still no details about how the recording was delivered.
Speaking of her worrying experience, Danielle said:
“The person on the other line said, ‘unplug your Alexa devices right now,'” she said. “‘You’re being hacked.'”
That person was one of her husband’s employees, calling from Seattle.
“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 confirmed that the recordings received had been picked up by her Alexa device and that she had no idea that it was being sent to a contact. She contacted Amazon to tell them that the device had guessed what she was saying. Amazon apologized to her and told her they would work to fix the issue.
There is an option for Alexa to send a message to a contact name using a voice recording, but Alexa is supposed to vocally confirm these requests. In this instance, this doesn’t appear to have happened.
Amazon released a statement to Seattle’s Kiro7 news stating that it “takes privacy very seriously” and that the event was an “extremely rare occurrence” that it is taking steps to prevent in the future.