Alexa is Recording Conversations and Sending Audio Files to the Cloud
The problem isn’t confined to one device, but to all Alexa-powered devices. The privacy concerns were first uncovered by a reporter from Seattle’s KIRO7 television network. After a colleague alerted the Portland family about the issue, the two disconnected their Alexa-powered devices. However, the issue still persists. Here are some ways to fix the problem and keep your conversations private.
First, you need to know that Alexa records your conversations without your permission. By default, it records every conversation you have with the virtual assistant. However, Google changed its default settings last year, and now only records the first time you say “Hey, Google.” If you previously set up your assistant to record all conversations, you may have to readjust your settings. However, this won’t affect the audio file. You can delete any recordings you don’t want the assistant to save.
When the incident occurred, the Alexa device woke up because it misunderstood a command to record a conversation and send it to a specific contact. Ultimately, this led to a misinterpretation of the conversation. As a result, Amazon changed the prompt so that it would be less likely to make an unintended request. And because this issue has already happened in other instances, it’s important that you make sure that your device isn’t hacked.
Another issue that arises when using Alexa is mishearing conversations. One couple in Portland, Oregon, had their conversation recorded without their knowledge. The couple did not realize that Alexa was listening to them and that they had accidentally activated it. When this happens, the audio recording is sent to an address book and uploaded to the cloud. This is a serious problem. Even worse, the problem doesn’t stop with Alexa – a person can accidentally activate Alexa without knowing.