A family in Portland, Oregon, claims that their Amazon Alexa recorded a private conversation in their home, and sent the recording to a person in Seattle who on their contact list.
Danielle, who chose not to reveal her last name, told KIRO that her her entire home was wired with the Amazon devices to control her home’s heat, lights and security system.
Danielle recalled that one of her husband’s employees called from Seattle about the recording:
The person on the other line said, “Unplug your Alexa devices right now, You’re being hacked.”
We unplugged all of them and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house.
At first, my husband was, like, “no you didn’t!” And the (recipient of the message) said “You sat there talking about hardwood floors.” And we said, “oh gosh, you really did hear us.”
Danielle expressed her shock that her privacy was invaded by an electronic device that she put in control of her home:
I felt invaded. A total privacy invasion. Immediately I said, “I’m never plugging that device in again, because I can’t trust it.”
Danielle said that she repeatedly called Amazon:
They 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.” 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!
He told us that the device just guessed what we were saying.
Amazon issued a statement to KIRO:
Amazon takes privacy very seriously. We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future.
Amazon offered to “de-provision” Danielle’s Alexa communications, but Danielle wants Amazon to give her a refund:
A husband and wife in the privacy of their home have conversations that they’re not expecting to be sent to someone (in) their address book.