A Portland, Oregon, family contacted Amazon to investigate after they say a private conversation in their home was recorded by Amazon's Alexa – the voice-controlled smart speaker – and the recorded audio was sent to the phone of a random person in Seattle, who was in the family’s contact list.
Every room in her family home was wired with the Amazon devices to control her home's heat, lights and security system.
But Danielle said that two weeks ago, the family's love for Alexa changed with an alarming phone call. "The person on the other line said, 'Unplug your Alexa devices right now,'" she said. "'You're being hacked.'"
That person was one of her husband's employees, calling from Seattle.
"We unplugged all of them and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house," she said. "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 listened to the conversation when it was sent back to her, and she couldn't believe someone 176 miles away heard it, too.
"I felt invaded," she said. "A total privacy invasion. Immediately, I said, 'I'm never plugging that device in again because I can't trust it.'"
Danielle says she unplugged all the devices, and she repeatedly called Amazon. She says an Alexa engineer investigated.
When KIRO-TV asked Amazon questions, the company sent this response:
“Amazon takes privacy very seriously. We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future."