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Senators demand to know – why is Alexa still eavesdropping?

Stories of Alexa’s tendency to eavesdrop have reached the ears of U.S. lawmakers, and they’re demanding answers.

While the government has been focusing its privacy concerns mostly on Facebook and Google, Amazon has been under the radar, but no longer.

Last week, senators sent questions about privacy to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The letter, signed by Senate Judiciary Committee members Chris Coons and Jeff Flake, questioned Amazon’s security and brings up the case of a Portland couple who found that their Echo had recorded one of their private conversations and sent it in a message to one of the man’s employees.

Amazon says the Echo misheard several commands in a row, acknowledging the mistake. The devices are supposed to not begin recording until it hears the wake word “Alexa.” After that point, recording begins and are sent to Amazon’s servers, but what happens to the recordings after that is a mystery.

The senators also asked how the devices listen for the wake word. They also want to hear about complaints Amazon has received about Echo.

Amazon says the whole issue is attributable to a software flaw, but Kim isn’t believing it. Hear what she has to say in this Consumer Tech Update podcast.

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