Our worst nightmare has been proved to be reality.
Amazon recently admitted to employing thousands of people who are given the task of listening in on private conversations.
In one shift these “analysts” will listen in on around 1,000 clips which is minuscule considering the millions of people who own the system.
A company spokesman explained, “We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order [to] improve the customer experience. For example, this information helps us train our speech recognition and natural language understanding system, so Alexa can better understand your requests, and ensure the service works well for everyone.”
This revelation still confirms the fear of those who have warned against privacy over convenience. Two Amazon workers said many users frequently ask questions like, “Do you work for the NSA?” or “Is someone else listening to us?”
The Daily Mail noted that “concerns have been raised by some in the past that smart speaker systems could be used to [listen in on] user conversations, often with the aim of targeting users with advertising.” But the analysts hear much more than just costumers’ interests.
Amazon workers have also listened in on people singing in the shower, discussing bank account details, and conducting other intimate exchanges. The Workers have also raised the alarm when overhearing distressing situations like a child calling out for help, and instances where a sexual assault might have occurred.
Experts say, it’s only a matter of time before law enforcement is granted access to listen in on what Alexa hears, too.
Security consultant Robert Graham said, “It’s likely that laws will be passed that will allow the police to remotely activate these devices and eavesdrop on suspects, pretty much as described in the book ‘1984.’ “