Amazon is reviewing how its voice-activated speakers work after a woman claimed her Echo device recorded a private conversation in her home and sent it to a contact without her knowledge. Alexa then tried to confirm the name of the person receiving the message, and turned background conversation into an approval to send it.
Amazon India is partnering with Bengaluru-based real estate developer Embassy Group to introduce its virtual voice assistant Alexa to operate smart homes, ET reported. "I felt invaded... A total privacy invasion. Like immediately I'm like, I'm never plugging that device in again, I can't trust it", Danielle said.
Amazon lovers everywhere are freaking out over this OR family's A.I. horror story.
Amazon and Google say their speakers are created to record audio only when activated with a trigger word, such as "Alexa" or "Hey Google".
As amusing as it is to joke about the government and big tech listening in on people's conversations through devices like smart speakers and voice-activated assistants, it's another thing to experience this kind of breach in privacy.
Amazon, later, confirmed the eavesdropping incident after checking the log of the devices. This incident proves that Smart speakers are not that smart after all and has also raised red flags on the fast adoption of smart speakers worldwide.
According to the Kiro 7 report, the woman Danielle, who did not wish for her last name to be used, got a call two weeks ago, with the other person telling them to unplug their Alexa devices. "Alexa then asked out loud, '[contact name], right?' Alexa then interpreted background conversation as 'right".
Amazon suggested that it is adding a fix for Alexa-powered devices following a report that the device started laughing for no reason, due to the software misunderstanding what it had heard.
Now her family has unplugged all the devices, and although Amazon offered to "de-provision" the devices of their communications features so they could keep using them to control their home, Danielle and her family reportedly want a refund instead.
"Subsequent conversation was heard as a 'send message" request, ' the company said in a statement.
'Background noise from our television is making it think we said Alexa, ' said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter.