PORTLAND, OR (CBS Local) – A couple in Oregon is demanding answers from Amazon after they claim their home’s voice-activated Echo device recorded a private conversation and sent it to a co-worker’s phone.
“My husband and I would joke and say I’d bet these devices are listening to what we’re saying,” Danielle told KIRO-TV. What Danielle didn’t know was that the Echo, hadn’t just recorded what the couple said, but also sent an audio file of the exchange to an employee of Danielle’s husband in Seattle, Washington.
“The person on the other line said, ‘unplug your Alexa devices right now,'” Danielle told KIRO, referring to the voice of the smart speaker. “‘You’re being hacked.'” The couple had reportedly placed Amazon devices in every room of their house to control the heat, lights, and security system. All of the gadgets were pulled out after their colleague proved they had received the unauthorized recording.
“At first, my husband was, like, ‘no you didn’t!’ And the (recipient of the message) said ‘You sat there talking about hardwood floors.’ And we said, ‘oh gosh, you really did hear us,'” Danielle explained.
The Portland couple reported the invasion of privacy to Amazon, who called the incident “an extremely rare occurrence.” “We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future,” Amazon wrote in a statement obtained by KIRO. Company technicians confirmed the breach of security and apologized, however they reportedly refused to give Danielle and her husband a refund for the home devices.
“I felt invaded,” the homeowner added. “Immediately I said, ‘I’m never plugging that device in again, because I can’t trust it.'”