A United States couple's private conversation was recorded by Amazon's Alexa and sent to an acquaintance without their knowledge two weeks ago.
Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo devices are meant to make home life a little easier, enabling users to ask questions on the fly, plan days out and, apparently, record your conversations unknowingly before sending it to members of your contact list.
Danille, who didn't reveal her surname, said: "we unplugged all of them and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house". Soon after the incident took place, Danielle contacted Amazon for a clarification on why this had happened.
The background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list. At which point, Alexa said out loud "To whom?"
Amazon said this was what happened to Danielle, adding: "The subsequent conversation was heard as a "send message" request".
In a more detailed explanation of what could have provoked the 'glitch, ' the company told TechCrunch that Alexa, which is supposed to be activated upon hearing its 'name, ' had most likely mistaken some of the words in the conversation for an eerily coincidental string of commands. "He apologised 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!"
What is said on Alexa should stay on Alexa.
Amazon has offered to "de-provision" her devices from the internet, meaning they would still be able to use the Smart Home features, but it wouldn't be able to send messages outside the home.
The engineer did not explain why it happened, though.
Amazon and rivals Apple, Google and Sonos have been pushing to integrate voice technology into all kinds of devices in the home, from speakers to cameras, thermostats and doorbells. Users had reported in March this year, that Alexa was laughing creepily in the background and many were scared by the same.
It's unknown if the couple had the volume turned all the way down on their device or if they just didn't hear Alexa's multiple spoken replies during the message process. Then too it misunderstood some words or phrases as "Alexa, laugh" command.
Also, notice that Amazon doesn't say how Alexa's recording of the chat was triggered.