Science & Technology

Amazon: Alexa ‘Error’ Allowed Man to Hear Another User’s Voice Recordings

An “error” granted a man who uses Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant access to another user’s 1,700 voice recordings, according to a report.

Reuters reported, Thursday, that the German user “got access to more than a thousand recordings from another user,” due to what Amazon described as an “unfortunate case” which was “the result of a human error and an isolated single case.”

“The customer had asked to listen back to recordings of his own activities made by Alexa but he was also able to access 1,700 audio files from a stranger when Amazon sent him a link,” Reuters explained, adding that the user “initially got no reply when he told Amazon about the access to the other recordings.”

By the time Amazon took action and blocked the access to the recordings, the user had already reportedly downloaded them to his computer.

“If you don’t harvest user data, you can’t make these kinds of errors,” declared one Twitter user in response to the incident, while another asked, “Does this change your mind about getting or giving one of these for Christmas?”

Amazon error allowed Alexa user to eavesdrop on another home

(But, if you don’t harvest user data, you can’t make these kinds of errors…)https://t.co/6r2LhulZ7s

— Rene Ritchie (@reneritchie) December 20, 2018

How much do you trust the Alexa voice assistant in your house? @Reuters reports one Alexa user was able to eavesdrop on another home. Does this change your mind about getting or giving one of these for Christmas?https://t.co/c1ZMxXshda

— Rick Dayton (@rickdayton) December 20, 2018

There have previously been similar incidents with Amazon’s Alexa-powered devices, including an incident where an Amazon Echo recorded a family’s conversation and sent it to a stranger.

“My husband and I would joke and say, ‘I’d bet these devices are listening to what we’re saying,’” declared the mother of the family affected. “We unplugged all of them and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house. 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.'”

In August, it was also reported that Amazon’s devices are vulnerable to hijacking, and this year Amazon released “Alexa for Kids,” a version of its Echo device for young children.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.


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