A woman from Portland, Oregon has claimed that her Amazon Echo recorded part of her conversation and sent it to a random person on her contact list. The woman claims that she learned about the issue when a person who worked for her husband contacted her at her home after receiving the message and told her that she was “hacked.”
Amazon has confirmed that this issue happened and issued the statement, “Amazon takes privacy very seriously,” an Amazon representative told Fox. “We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future.”
According to the woman, an Amazon engineer hasn’t figured out exactly what caused the issue. She claims that the engineer told her that the Alexa device must have “Guessed” the command to send a message via Alexa Voice Messaging without asking for verbal confirmation. Most voice assistants of that sort ask for verbal confirmation before sending messages.
“[Amazon] said, ‘Our engineers went through your logs, and they saw exactly what you told us; they saw exactly what you said happened, and we’re sorry,’” said the woman. “He apologized like 15 times in a matter of 30 minutes, and he said, ‘We really appreciate you bringing this to our attention; this is something we need to fix!’”
The woman says that Amazon offered to de-provision the communication features of the Echo speaker so that she could use the smart home features of the device without worrying that it would record her conversations. She says that she preferred a refund because she no longer trusts the device. This latest incident comes on the heels of a report that found Alexa and Siri were vulnerable to commands humans can’t hear.