A Portland family was using an Amazon Echo to help out around the house. They thought everything was fine until they received a phone call warning them to shut it off immediately.
A woman speaking with KIRO7 in Seattle said that her and her husband were being recorded having a private conversation. The recording was then sent to one of their contacts who lives in another state.
“The person on the other line said, ‘Unplug your Alexa devices right now,'” she said. “‘You’re being hacked.'”
It was proved the conversation was recorded without their consent when the person who received the call was able to reveal all of the details about the conversation between the woman and her husband.
“I felt invaded,” the woman said. “A total privacy invasion. Immediately I said, ‘I’m never plugging that device in again, because I can’t trust it.'”
After the woman listened to the recorded conversation, she sent the information to Amazon.
According to the woman, “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.”
The Amazon engineer didn’t say why it had happened.
When KIRO7 reached out to Amazon they received the following message:
“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.”
The woman and her husband are seeking a refund for their purchase of the device. Additionally they are looking for anyone who has experienced a similar issue with the advice.
This is exactly why many people refuse to let an Amazon Echo or Google Home into their home. Fear of being spied on.