Who is responsible for privacy at Amazon
For a couple from Portland, Oregon, a surveillance nightmare has come true: Amazon's voice assistant Alexa recorded a private conversation between the two Americans and sent it to a person from Seattle. The man, an employee of the husband's company, then called in alarm and warned those affected, they told the local broadcaster KIRO 7.
The couple use Alexa to control the home's heating, lights, and security systems. In every room there is an echo, as Amazon calls the loudspeakers with integrated voice assistants. After the incident, the couple disabled all devices.
"It felt like a total attack on privacy," the woman told the TV station. "I'll never use Alexa again because I can't trust the device." You informed Amazon. The company apologized and promised to see to it that this no longer happens.
Amazon blames an "unlikely" chain of events
Amazon confirmed the Financial Times the incident. The reason was an "unlikely" chain of events. Echo is activated by keywords like "Alexa". According to the company, the Amazon device picked up a similar word in the conversation of the couple, who spoke a little distant from Alexa. Then Echo understood the command "send message".
Alexa then have "To whom?" asked and understood a name from the husband's address book, that of his co-worker. Alexa then repeated the name and asked if it was correct - and understood the word "correct" in their conversation. "As unlikely as this sequence is, we're looking at how we can make this case even less likely," said an Amazon spokesman.
At least the content of the conversation between the couple was harmless. It was about wooden floorboards.
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