Amazon Alexa heard and sent private chat

Amazon admitted the situation was 'unlikely'

Amazon admitted the situation was 'unlikely' Credit Daniel Berman Bloomberg

Amazon's Alexa Echo accidentally recorded and shared a private conversation - prompting concerns about these devices and how much privacy we are giving up when we put them in our homes.

A woman in Portland said that her family's Amazon Echo recorded her conversations, then sent them to a random contact without any human direction.

The couple tells KIRO-TV that they had a private conversation.

The company also said that "As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely".

Amazon suggested that it is adding a fix for Alexa-powered devices following a report that the device started laughing for no reason, due to the software misunderstanding what it had heard. But from what the woman told KIRO, it seems she and her husband didn't hear those questions.

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"My husband and I would joke and say I'd bet these devices are listening to what we're saying", Danielle said.

"I felt invaded", Danielle said.

Its retail giant's critics argue that by selling its "Rekognition" technology, which can identify, track and analyze people in real time, to USA law enforcement and local authorities, Amazon threatens civil freedoms. Then in between the couple's conversation, Alexa heard the request to "send message" by mistake.

Danielle then called Amazon and the company sent an Alexa engineer to investigate the matter.

Command "Alexa, send a message to (enter contact name)" and Amazon's smart assistant will follow your instructions.

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The affected couple has four Amazon Alexa devices in their home which they use for controlling electrical devices and appliances.

"Amazon takes privacy very seriously". She quickly set out to unplug every Amazon Alexa unit in the house. "We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future", said the statement to the news station.

"Unplug your Alexa devices right now - you're being hacked", she was told. The pair continued talking in the background and the Echo system interpreted part of the chat to identify a name in the couple's contact list.

She said she'd asked for a refund for all their Alexa devices - something the company has so far demurred from agreeing to. At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customers contact list.

The group found that commands could be hidden in white noise, with the device switching on and going to websites without being asked by a human.

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