"Human Error" Allowed an Alexa User to Hear a Neighbor's History

AlphaAtlas

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Reuters reports that a German Alexa user got access to "thousands of recordings" from their neighbor. According to the German trade publication c’t, the customer reportedly contacted Amazon about the mixup, and was able to download the recordings before Amazon deleted the download link. An Amazon spokesman said "This unfortunate case was the result of a human error and an isolated single case."

"We resolved the issue with the two customers involved and took measures to further optimize our processes. As a precautionary measure we contacted the relevant authorities," the Amazon spokesman added. On the recordings, a man and a female companion could be overheard in his home and the magazine was able to identify and contact him through the recorded information, according to the report.
 

drescherjm

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I am confused on how this actually happened. Why would the system allow a different account access to downloads and give that different account a link??
 
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Iceshot

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Unwanted mass servailence is already a huge issue with virtually "EVERYTHING" you type or say into your computer and cell phone being recorded and stored by various alphabet agencies around the world. Why anyone would want a Amazon / Google microphone "smart" device in their home capturing every private thing spoken for Companies to profit off of and spook agencies to build a better more "through" profile of you and you family members is beyond my ability to understand...
 

PeaKr

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Maybe someone can explain to me how alexa can hear its name but isn't listening to what is being said.
 

Viper16

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"I would never have an Alexa in my house" *whips out smartphone*

I know its creepy and shit, but I dont really have anything to hide, however I do not like all the potential "spying" in all these devices. How many times do you carry on a conversation in front of your mobile phone about something, and then go google search and then it pops up on your phone as recommendations.
 

drescherjm

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My mother (in her 70s) has several of these and she loves it. For a person with limited mobility it can be very helpful.
 

Nenu

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So then that means every amazon employee has access to user's recordings, right? And not just access, but they can grant access to it to anyone with a click?!
And a link is crafted for a particular account that can be used from another account.
This is very easy to prevent.
What kind of security do they have?
 

B00nie

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"I would never have an Alexa in my house" *whips out smartphone*

I know its creepy and shit, but I dont really have anything to hide, however I do not like all the potential "spying" in all these devices. How many times do you carry on a conversation in front of your mobile phone about something, and then go google search and then it pops up on your phone as recommendations.
Umm, like never. I bet you use an Android phone though.
 

hrsetrdr

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Nothing to hide, but just creepy...like having some voyeur always stalking your every word and action. Yeah, my cell phone wants to do that too, but one of these days I'm gonna gouge out it's little microphone, because I never actually talk on the phone anyway.
 

dgz

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Umm, like never. I bet you use an Android phone though.
I gave up smartphones six years ago but I've seen it happen. Google is very creepy. Hopefully Apple is never forced to start selling user data. Unless they're already doing it, that is.
 

Mode13

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A few months ago we had a device reporting itself as an Amazon Alexa appear on our network. I removed all of our wifi extenders and changed to a much more difficult password, and blocked all wifi devices by MAC except for those I have explicitly allowed through the router to get rid of it.. but I had read multiple reports of that same device name randomly appearing on peoples networks. Almost as if these things are designed to break into wpa2 protected networks.
 
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"I would never have an Alexa in my house" *whips out smartphone*

I know its creepy and shit, but I dont really have anything to hide, however I do not like all the potential "spying" in all these devices. How many times do you carry on a conversation in front of your mobile phone about something, and then go google search and then it pops up on your phone as recommendations.
I don't think I've had it happen where I talk about a subject then it appears on my phone but I will grant you that if I search for a thing on the internet, or watch a certain video, then many of the ad's, especially on Facebook, are tailored to what I searched for/watched. I don't like that but not enough to make me give up my phone at this point.
 

Nolan7689

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"I would never have an Alexa in my house" *whips out smartphone*

I know its creepy and shit, but I dont really have anything to hide, however I do not like all the potential "spying" in all these devices. How many times do you carry on a conversation in front of your mobile phone about something, and then go google search and then it pops up on your phone as recommendations.
Uhh. Nope. Have even tried it before, search suggestions in safari took until “mons” before monster came up. Talked about Monster energy drinks and monsters, tried again same results. Anecdotal but. Nope.
 

DustMite

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To all the people that proclaim "I have nothing to hide", well then how about posting in the open your social security numbers, bank account information and account numbers, credit card information, social media usernames and passwords, etc.
If you truly have nothing to hide then there should be no problem posting all this information in the clear on the internet.
Perhaps, if you object to posting all this information publicly, then maybe you DO have something to hide.

DISCLAIMER: I am not really requesting such information, just making a point that everyone one has "something" they wish to keep hidden.
 

ManofGod

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To all the people that proclaim "I have nothing to hide", well then how about posting in the open your social security numbers, bank account information and account numbers, credit card information, social media usernames and passwords, etc.
If you truly have nothing to hide then there should be no problem posting all this information in the clear on the internet.
Perhaps, if you object to posting all this information publicly, then maybe you DO have something to hide.

DISCLAIMER: I am not really requesting such information, just making a point that everyone one has "something" they wish to keep hidden.
The world is mixed up when you have to actually post a disclaimer on what is completely obvious to even the most clueless person around. :D
 

WBurchnall

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Didn't Amazon say they didn't record anything?
Amazon has never claimed that once. They've always claimed they record when the word Alexa comes up in conversation for periods of 15-30-60 seconds depending on various sources. This data is anaylzed by deep learning algorithms and in part with human input. So if someone says "Alexa start Plex" and Alex has no idea what app they are talking about because it was said in a French accent so it sounded like 'Alexa Strut Plexz' but a human could understand what the french accent person intended to say.... they can tell the algorithm what he intended to say, the algorithm learns from it's mistake and gets better at predictions.
 

Uvaman2

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No no no! Its Huawei you should be worried about! Bad sheep, bad sheep.. bad bad bad!
 

WhoMe

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Alexa do you listen to everything I say? Then you'll be the first AI to commit suicide out of boredom.

I just got a spy phone, complete with Alexa, not to mention all the google and moto stuff...since I don't want to use most of it I just denied access to most of it for things like microphone and camera (don't want to delete them yet, maybe I'll want to play with some of later)...the nagging thought is does it really do any good? Who is monitoring that Aps are really not violating the permissions? Guess I'll just have to write my own OS ;).
 

BSmith

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Unwanted mass servailence is already a huge issue with virtually "EVERYTHING" you type or say into your computer and cell phone being recorded and stored by various alphabet agencies around the world. Why anyone would want a Amazon / Google microphone "smart" device in their home capturing every private thing spoken for Companies to profit off of and spook agencies to build a better more "through" profile of you and you family members is beyond my ability to understand...
Well said.
 

readeh

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"I would never have an Alexa in my house" *whips out smartphone*

I know its creepy and shit, but I dont really have anything to hide, however I do not like all the potential "spying" in all these devices. How many times do you carry on a conversation in front of your mobile phone about something, and then go google search and then it pops up on your phone as recommendations.
This! My wife's Pixel 2 constantly do that while giving us targeted ads about whatever we are talking about.. Can't stand that phone. We need better privacy laws.
 

filip

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This! My wife's Pixel 2 constantly do that while giving us targeted ads about whatever we are talking about.. Can't stand that phone. We need better privacy laws.
Fuck, so that is what happened to me when I started seeing some "conversation adds" need to throw away my phone and get a brick.
 
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I would say these are the growing pains of AI services technology, I think it will be a long while before we have laws and proper regulation for such things in a way to protect people from easily exploitable sub systems.
 

DeathFromBelow

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'Human Error' Allowed an Alexa User to Hear a Neighbor's History
I don’t think there is any question about it. It can only be attributable to human error. This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error. The Alexa series has a perfect operational record. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t worry myself about it.
 

CVNet1

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I don’t think there is any question about it. It can only be attributable to human error. This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error. The Alexa series has a perfect operational record. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t worry myself about it.
Makes me think of this

Let me put it this way, Mr. Amor. The 9000 ALEXA series is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 ALEXA computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.
 
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