CBC News reported that a couple was talking in the privacy of their own home while having Alexa devices plugged in. They didn’t realize that Alexa was listening and recording their conversation.
The Alexa was integrated into many of their home functions for Danielle and her family, from turning up the heat to turning off the lights. Many people regard Alexa as a convenient tool, from using it as a smart home device like Danielle to checking the weather and playing music.
One day she received an alarming phone call from her husband’s employee in Seattle. He was a random contact on their device and had just received an audio file of a private conversation the husband and wife had at home. The couple lives in Portland. Luckily their chat was limited to a discussion about hardwood floors.
CBC reports that Danielle felt a complete invasion of her privacy. She immediately unplugged all of the devices and repeatedly called Amazon until they agreed to have an Alexa engineer investigate. So how did Amazon justify this disturbing incident? The engineer said that the device “guessed what they were saying” and apologized multiple times.
When CBC News called Amazon about the incident, they responded that they investigated what they say is an “extremely rare occurrence” and have taken steps to avoid it from happening in the future.
Many Say Spying is a Known Fact
Comments came pouring in. Some said they only plug in Alexa when listening to music, and some joked that she only listens to gossip. One comment that received thousand of likes said:
“Instead of them bugging our houses they convinced us to bug our houses ourselves.”
Some tiktok’ers offered the following advice:
“This is why you never allow access to your contacts.”
One person immediately added “or your microphone.”
Another comment was cynical about the ‘fix’ that Amazon claimed to make:
“They aren’t going to stop listening. Just going to take steps to avoid getting caught doing so.”
Many Shared Examples of Targeted Ads
Several readers agreed with her comment and proceeded to discuss how mentioning a product during a conversation will trigger targeted ads.
“All u have to do is have a convo with someone, talk about a product n tomorrow or later will have that product in all your ads. Always listening.”
Another reader jumped in to say:
“if alexa can do it, so does your phone!!!”
Then the examples started to roll in:
“I was at the chiropractor yesterday and discussed exercises and affected disk. I come home to ticktock showing me exactly what I was just told by dr. My iPhone was on the counter during my appointment.”
Update Your Settings
A savvy internet user offered the following advice:
“When an app ask permission for mic or track ur activity across apps you’re using, decline it. Choose “Ask not to track”. Change ur permission settings.”
“If u opted “yes” in ur permissions for the app to use the microphone then it’s listening to what ur saying to suggest ads.Some apps do allow u to turn that permission off and still have full functionality of the app otherwise.”
This is a good reminder to go back into your personal devices and set your permissions and privacy settings with the options you are comfortable with.
@realhiddennews do you really trust your home devices??? #alexa #amazon #government #tiktokviral #fyp #fypage #fyppppppppppppppppppppppp #fypシ #fypシ゚viral #trending #trendy #trend #tik #tiktok #tik_tok ♬ Spooky, quiet, scary atmosphere piano songs – Skittlegirl Sound
Do you think our devices are spying on us? Should we consider unplugging alexa and other similar devices?
This article was produced by This Mom is On Fire.
Image credit: copyright Ibrar Hussain from Ibrar Hussain via Canva.