In a statement from the Amazon, the company is explaining how a woman’s Amazon Alexa device recorded a private conversation and randomly shared it with one of her contacts.
The incident first came to light two weeks ago, when a Portland, Oregon-area woman who identified herself as ‘Danielle’ received a call from one of her husband’s Seattle-based employees, who told her to unplug her Alexa devices immediately.
“He had received audio files — recordings — from what was going on in our house,” said Danielle, who was interviewed on camera by local TV news station KIRO 7, which first broke the story. Danielle asked that the news outlet not use her last name.
In an interview with KIRO, Amazon said the issue was “very, very rare.” According to an Amazon spokesperson, the device was triggered to record and send the audio by background noise. Here is the company’s official statement:
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 customers contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, “[contact name], right?” Alexa then interpreted background conversation as “right”. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.
Danielle, who immediately unplugged all her Amazon Alexa devices, has requested a refund for her Amazon Alexa devices, reports KIRO.