Don’t Freak Out About That Amazon Alexa Eavesdropping Situation

On Thursday, Seattle news station KIRO 7 published a disconcerting story. A Portland family discovered that a snippet of private conversation had been recorded by an Amazon Echo and sent to a random person in their contact list. The report instantly sparked concern and outrage that Amazon’s Echo smart speaker is listening to and recording much more than the company claims.

The woman, who only identified herself as Danielle, said that one of her husband’s employees called the family to say that he had received a text message containing an audio recording of one of their conversations about hardwood floors. “I felt invaded,” she told KIRO 7. “A total privacy invasion. Immediately I said, ‘I’m never plugging that device in again, because I can’t trust it.'” The episode renews longstanding debate about whether the privacy protections built into smart assistants are adequate and whether the benefits of the devices outweigh the risks of keeping a potentially live mic in your home.

WIRED couldn’t contact Danielle for more information about the incident, because her full name has not been released, but an Amazon spokesperson did provide an explanation: “Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like ‘Alexa.’ Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a ‘send message’ request. At which point, Alexa said out loud ‘To whom?’ At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right.'”

web
YOURURL.com
you can find out more
see this site
additional resources
Website
pop over to this site
view it now
their website
special info
you could try these out
site
Check Out Your URL
my explanation
helpful site
More Info
go right here
this article
visit their website
check out here
he said
official source
Look At This
see page
find out here
look these up
Find Out More
go now
that site
image source
useful content
sites
Full Article
click over here now
visit this web-site
see
Our site
read the article
next page
look at this now
find out
Read Full Report
see here now
visit here
click here to find out more
why not check here
her response
published here
check
discover this
from this source
basics
read what he said
visit the site
browse around this web-site
visit this site
link
click for source
click this link now
blog
why not look here
more information
look at these guys
site link
helpful hints
pop over to this web-site
go to my site
see this page
browse around this website
view website
my sources
webpage
Discover More Here
Learn More Here
company website
click for info
Read Full Article
click over here
take a look at the site here
helpful resources
check out this site
look at this website
the original source
Continue
visit our website
go to this website
pop over here
Home Page

That’s a lot of misinterpretation, huh? But it’s not completely implausible.

After Echoes hear their wake word, usually ‘Alexa,’ they transfer whatever a user says next into the cloud for processing. The ability to send snippets of voice recordings to contacts is a standard Echo feature, and once the Echo hears the command to begin a “Voice Message,” it double checks that it has the correct contact, then records until the user stops speaking and sends the file off. It’s pretty bonkers that an Echo would have so wildly misinterpreted what was going on in a conversation, and Amazon says it is “evaluating options to make this case even less likely,” but the glitch isn’t necessarily a reason to panic. It’s like the Echo equivalent of a butt-dial.

And Danielle’s situation seems like a potentially perfect setup for such a peculiar sequence of events. She told KIRO 7 that her family has Echo devices in “every room” of their home to control things like heat and lights. So the Echo that captured snatches of the family’s conversation could have been the one in the room with them, but devices in neighboring rooms could have also heard a faint—and therefore skewed—version of the conversation from afar.

Danielle also told KIRO 7 that “the device did not audibly advise her it was preparing to send the recording,” but Amazon is adamant that the Echo gave two audio prompts. It’s possible that Danielle had muted or lowered the volume of Alexa’s voice, or an Echo in the next room might have been giving its prompts to no one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *