Amazon Echo gets smarter: Records private conversation and shares it to random people

This can leave Amazon Echo users anguished.

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Smart speakers are a result of the technological advancements. As the popularity of the smart speakers has grown to great heights, privacy and safety concerns come into play. The reason for this is that such devices listen to what you say and process the information.

Amazon Echo records private conversation; shares it to random people

 

There are possibilities for smart speakers in your room to secretly record your conversations too. If you won't believe what we just said here, then you need to know what happened in Portland.

The issue

A family in Portland, Oregon received a phone call a fortnight back. The voice on the other end said, "Unplug your Alexa devices right now. You're being hacked". So what had happened is that the Amazon Alexa powered Echo device they had been using had silently recorded their conversations and emailed it across to a random person on their contact list.

After confirming that the recorded file was a private conversation, the family unplugged their Alexa-powered devices. They had also contacted Amazon to investigate the issue. Amazon explained that this is an unforeseen situation. The company said that privacy is a very important constraint but this incident was due to an extremely rare occurrence.

As per KIRO7 TV network in Seattle, the woman who identified herself as Danielle (first name) stated that she felt invaded after listening to the recorded conversations. She claimed to have lost trust in the device and considers it an eavesdropping machine.

How could it have happened?

In a statement, the company states that the Amazon Echo woke up when it heard a word similar to Alexa. Eventually, the subsequent conversation was interpreted to be a "send message" request. And, it is claimed that Alexa had asked "To whom?". At this point, the background conversation was interpreted to be a name of a person in the contact list.

 

Amazon Alexa flaw

This is not the first time that the Echo smart speaker has been accused by potential eavesdropping. Last month, a flaw in the Alexa voice assistant was discovered by researchers. The flaw is said to cause the speaker to continue listening to a person without their consent. Amazon quickly resolved the vulnerability after researchers alerted it about the flaw.

How to stay safe?

There's no denying that the Echo and other such smart speakers are a boon. One can get tons of tasks executed and get to know many updates using their voice via Alexa skills. Following the report many users of the Echo smart speaker are anguished. The big question in many users' mind is if this is what Amazon is actually doing with its smart speaker lineup? If you are concerned about the privacy issues, then there is a trick to prevent any mishap from happening.

The Echo speaker comes with a mute button at its top. You can press it and a red ring of light will appear. Alexa will be muted until you press the same button once again to let it hear your conversations. This is very important to assure your privacy.

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