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An Amazon Echo device in Portland, Ore., has been accused of doing what?

Answer: Eavesdropping.

And then sending a recording of the conversation to one of the owner’s contacts.

In a chain of coincidences, the Echo device of Portland resident Danielle (no last name given) and her husband interpreted their background conversation as a request for it to record their conversation. It then further mistook their conversation for a name in their contact list, and then as a confirmation to send that person the recording.

According to a statement to Digital Trends, Amazon investigated the incident and found that “Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like ‘Alexa.’ Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a ‘send message’ request. At which point, Alexa said out loud, ‘To whom?’ At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, ‘[contact name], right?’ Alexa then interpreted background conversation as ‘right.’ As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely."

Kate is a senior copy editor in Northern California. She holds a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in professional writing from the University of California, Davis.