Alexa recorded private conversation and shared it!
Recently a family accused Amazon for Alexa recorded private conversation and shared it with one of their contact. In this far technologically advanced world we are relying on Alexa, Google assistant and Siri as well. The thing is that after the privacy issue which broke out at Facebook users have been paying very close attention. In-order to give us a much pleasant usability we have to surrender our complete privacy to these technologies. Without accessing our personal information and lifestyles these tech won’t offer us their best. Is it worth it?
Alexa recorded private conversation – So what happened?
Just a week ago a family in Portland, Oregon got a call saying that “unplug your Alexa, I think you are being Hacked”. This is just enough to make your mind go crazy. Apparently Alexa recorded some of their private conversation and had sent that to the caller. It’s terrifying that a technology that is meant to ease up our lifestyle is making it much harder to let alone live. Immediately they unplugged the Alexa and notified Amazon. Alexa recorded private conversation – how crazy is that?
Amazon explained the incident as one off as this was not a mistake in their security feature. According to Amazon during the conversation Alexa woke up to the keyword sounding like Alexa. Then it heard the command to send the next message at which Alexa asked out loud “To whom?”. The family must have said the persons name in the conversation which Alexa mistakenly heard and processed. Thus it send the conversation to that contact. The person who received this conversation was an employee to the family’s husband and was on their contact list.
Do we need to take this seriously?
Yes, we do. If you are not concerned about your or your loved one’s privacy then we can just avoid this incident as a random one. Some people may call those who take this seriously as security freaks but in this rapidly growing AI world a little bit of “security freakishness” is alright. Of course, the people who work closely with this technology knows that it’s a hectic task to identify the voice from the noice. But the sole purpose of these devices is to identify their owners voice, isn’t it?
If they cant do that, then i would say manufacturers haven’t tested it thoroughly. I don’t believe a company like Amazon or Google will launch their product to public without a thorough testing. Especially devices concerning privacy of the users.
Some thoughts on Amazon, Google & other Social Media Giants
Have you ever thought how Amazon or Google is providing some of their services for free or at a very low price? The price may be even lower than what it would cost to just make it happen. So why are they giving us their services for free or at a very low price? One answer: Data. Each and every company out there knows the importance of Users data. They won’t miss a chance to get their hands on our data. What we like, which places we usually go, what products are we interested in… The list will go on. They are silently getting our data through any medium possible. Amazon using Alexa, Amazon store app, kindle and many more. Google using their assistant, maps, search engine, youtube and many more.
You may think what this has to do with Amazon Alexa or Google assistant. When you hear that Alexa recorded private conversation and shared it whats the first thing that pops up? Most probably they are recording us the entire time without us knowing. How scary is that? This is not just some accusation, there are facts that can lead to this conclusion. Security researchers developed a custom skill which can be integrated into Alexa to eavesdrop on us indefinitely. They gave a PoC and Amazon has fixed it.
This means there are still chances for turning these devices into a spying device completely.
Even though Amazon Alexa and Google Home mini help us to ease our lifestyle it comes with a great cost. We have to always assume that the “Big Brothers” (Amazon, Google, FB) is silently watching over us. What we can do against this is limited. If we avoid these techs we may get fell behind. So we have to carefully learn to live with it. Let me know what you think about this issue in the comments.