Smart home devices have been all the rage these past few years. They make life easier for the homeowner who can control various aspects of the home all via voice command. Amazon’s Echo device has been a best seller, but after an investigation proved the company is listening and sharing private conversations, that could all change.
A Seattle CBS affiliate conducted an investigation with a couple that proved that Amazon records private conversations. The smart device then sent a colleague of the couple a full audio recording of Danielle and her husband talking about hardwood floors.
When Danielle called Amazon’s tech support and explained what had happened, the technician didn’t really provide an adequate explanation as to how this happened.
“Our engineers went through all of your logs. They saw exactly what you told us, exactly what you said happened, and we’re sorry.” the technician allegedly told Danielle. This is something we need to fix.'”
She then asked how the device was able to record them and then send a full audio recording to one of her contacts without her permission. According to Danielle, “he said the device guessed what we were saying.”
The news station that conducted the investigation reached out to Amazon for a statement. A company spokesperson “determined this was an extremely rare occurrence” but didn’t explain how or why it happened.
The spokesperson didn’t rule out that other Echo devices sold around the same time that Danielle bought her device could have the same issue.
In 2017, Amazon’s Echo was involved in a murder investigation as prosecutors demanded Amazon release the audio recording from the time the murder supposedly took place. Amazon refused to release any recorded conversations to prosecutors.
Danielle says she used to joke with her husband that their device was listening to them. “My husband and I would joke and say I’d bet these devices are listening to what we’re saying,” she said, not knowing the device actually was.
Since these findings, some consumers are now unplugging their devices to ensure this can’t happen to them.