As if you needed another reason to watch your Amazon Echo out of the corner of your eye, here it is. An Oregon family discovered their Echo recorded a conversation they were having and sent it to the an employee of the husband.
The employee called the family two weeks ago to inform them of what happened, and warn them to unplug their Alexa devices, according to KIRO 7. They did so, and while the husband initially disbelieved the story, the employee was able to share details of audio files, such as a conversation about hardwood floors.
Once the wife in the family contacted Amazon several times, an Alexa engineer investigated the situation, confirming what happened via logs. The engineer failed to explain exactly what happened though.
The company did offer to de-provision the family’s Alexa communications so they could continue to control smarthome devices, but Danielle said she’s been fighting with representatives to secure a refund.
Amazon provided the usual “taking steps” sound bite to the local TV station:
“Amazon takes privacy very seriously,” the company said in a statement to KIRO. “We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future.”
Many critics of the Amazon Echo, as well as smart speakers made by Apple and Google, have worried aloud that the devices could be used to spy on private conversations. The speakers are designed to communicate with remote servers for many of their actions, exposing them as a possible target for hackers, governments, and other suspicious characters.