It's the big worry that smart speaker owners have; is the virtual assistant on their device listening in and spying on them? Recently an Echo user in Germany received a link from Alexa that gave him access to 1,700 audio files from a stranger's Echo smart speaker. Reuters noted that Amazon failed to respond to the consumer who received all of those audio files, and the links were deleted after the man loaded them on his home computer.
The customer who received the files had asked Alexa to play back his own recorded conversations when he received the links to the stranger's audio files. Those recordings reportedly contained conversations between a male and a "female companion." A publication in Germany was able to identify the man by listening to the recorded material. Amazon blamed the incident on "human error," saying that it was able to optimize its processes following the incident.
Back in May, we told you about a similar situation that occurred. In that case, an Echo unit recorded a private conversation between a husband and wife that took place inside a home in Portland, Oregon. The dialogue was sent to one of the husband's employees 176 miles away in Seattle, Washington. In that case, Amazon said that the Alexa assistant thought that the "Alexa" hotword was said, and also mistakenly interpreted background conversation.