Shhh . . . Alexa Is Listening!
For years it’s been widely assumed that voice-enabled digital assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google in our homes’ smartspeakers can listen to what’s happening even while in passive mode. These devices are on, connected to the internet, and waiting for instructions from us. So they have to be listening, right?
But what if listening turned into recording, and then that recording was somehow sent to another person without you knowing about it? That’s exactly what seems to have occurred with a family in Seattle who claims their Echo smartspeaker recorded a private conversation in the home and then sent it as a message to someone on their contact list. The only way the husband and wife even knew this occurred was when they got a call from the contact that received the recording who told them to, “Unplug your Alexa devices right now, you’re being hacked.” (insert scary movie music here!)
So far there’s been no official statement from Amazon about the situation, although they’ve dispatched an engineer to investigate. But let’s face it, regardless of how this example actually went down even the idea that your devices are listening to your private conversations is pretty unnerving.