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Amazon Alexa Reportedly Records Family's Private Conversation And Sends It To Random Contact

May 25, 2018
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Uh oh.  Bad news for everyone with an Amazon Alexa device.

A family in Portland was notified by a colleague in Seattle that he recently received an audio file containing the husband and wife discussing hardwood floors.  Not exactly a riveting or even appropriate conversation for the man to hear, especially considering the family had no idea it was being recorded at the time.  

Danielle, who chose not to giver her last name, said she and her husband would always joke that their Amazon Alexas were listening to everything they were saying.  They had one on every room of their house, to control the heating, lights, and security system.  Until they got a frantic phone call from that colleague in Seattle, who told them "Unplug your Alexa devices right now.  You're being hacked."

Danielle unplugged everything and contacted Amazon who, though helpful, remained incredibly vague about why exactly their Alexa recorded their private conversation.  "They said 'our engineers went through your logs, and they saw exactly what you told us, they saw exactly what you said happened, and we're sorry.'  He apologized like 15 times in a matter of 30 minutes and he said we really appreciate you bringing this to our attention, this is something we need to fix!" Danielle told KIRO 7.

But as far as why their Alexa decided to randomly record their conversation, Danielle said, "He told us that the device just guessed what we were saying."

KIRO 7 reached out to Amazon, who released a statement saying:

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.

Amazon offered to "de-provision" the Alexa devices so Danielle and her husband could continue to use the Smart Home features, but Danielle is looking for a full refund of the devices, something Amazon has been reluctant to offer so far.

Via KIRO 7