Amazon Echo secretly records and sends private conversation without permission

Alexa can misinterpret conversation as a wake-up call and command

A private conversation of a couple in the USA was recorded by Alexa and then sent to a random person in their contact list.

The contact, who was one of her husband's work employees, told the woman to "unplug your Alexa devices right now".

"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", the wife, identified only as Danielle, told the site.

In its statement, the U.S. tech giant said the conversation had been inadvertently recorded and sent because the Echo device interpreted a word in the background conversation as "Alexa" - a command that triggers recording.

It said the device interpreted a word in background conversation as "Alexa" - a command that makes the machine wake up - and then it interpreted the conversation as a "send message" request.

"As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely", the retail giant said.

"I felt invaded", she told KIRO7.

Last month researchers discovered a flaw in the Alexa voice assistant, enabling an Echo to continue listening to a person without them knowing. "Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like "Alexa". The spokesperson goes on say that this is no incident of Alexa spying on users. She stated that the company representative did not answer why Alexa recorded her conversation, or if it is a common issue.

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She added: "Immediately I said: "I'm never plugging that device in again, because I can't trust it".

"The person on the other line said, 'unplug your Alexa devices right now, '" she told KIRO.

In the above statement, Amazon blamed Alexa for misinterpreting the background conversation as commands given to the smart speaker.

The incident raises questions that many smartphone and computer users have been asking for some time now about whether these always-on services - such as Alexa, Siri, Cortana or Google Home - are always listening. This was a conversation Danielle didn't know was being recorded.

After unplugging the devices, which were throughout every room in her home and created to control lights and heating, Danielle called the company to find out what happened.

Amazon managed to confirm the goings on via logs of the Echo's actions, before determining that "this was an extremely rare occurrence".

The engineer did not explain why it happened, though. Initially, the officials responded by saying, "Amazon takes privacy very seriously".

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