Here's why Amazon Echo recorded a family's conversation

Doris Richards
May 25, 2018

According to the report, the couple came to know about the recording when Danielle's husband's employee called them and informed that he has received audio files for their conversations.

Danielle told KIRO 7 that the device did not tell her that it would be sending the recorded conversations. When the wake word is detected in the buffer, it records what is said until there is a gap in the conversation, and sends the audio to Amazon's cloud system to transcribe, figure out what needs to be done, and respond to it.

The background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list.

Amazon says its Echo device kept asking for commands and then kept mishearing them. But, imagine Alexa listening to you secretly while you talk with your wife, record that conversation and then send it to some random person who is your contact list.

"The person on the other line said, 'unplug your Alexa devices right now, '" Danielle told the station. This could be an improbably unusual combination of mis-interpreted commands by the Echo, but it's still creepy as hell.

"We are evaluating options to make this case even less likely".

Danielle explained her whole house was wired with Amazon devices, something not uncommon for fans of the Alexa units.


Amazon later also gave an explanation for the entire issue. "Immediately I said, 'I'm never plugging that device in again, because I can't trust it.'" She called Amazon who sent an Alexa engineer to investigate.

We just have to hope that Ian Fleming's James Bond novel "The Spy Who Loved Me" doesn't turn into Amazon's "The Spy Who Heard Me", but hey, perhaps someone will write a book about it, and you'll soon be able to listen to it read aloud to you!

Most owners of Alexa devices proudly proclaim how the technology is revolutionising their digital lives and helping them switch on lightbulbs with their voices.

Recording and sharing a private conversation without consent is the second incident this year that has raised concerns about Amazon's virtual assistant. The statement went on to say "We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future".

The incident highlights the risk that inadvertent software bugs or intentional hacks can invade privacy as devices with sensors become more commonplace.

If you've ever said something rude, crude, or lewd in front of your Amazon Echo, you'd better hope it wasn't listening.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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