Amazon listens to the conversations of device owners with Alexa (3 photos)

In the process, the Alexa voice assistant fromAmazon is trained in commands and queries from users. However, as specialists have found out, in order to increase the efficiency of the digital assistant’s operation, the manufacturer uses not only algorithmic methods. Thousands of Amazon staff and guest workers are tapped, and users are talking about devices with Alexa voice assistant around devices.

Such an opportunity was not hidden by the company andindicated in Alexa technical documentation. However, an ordinary user hardly suspected that conversations with Alexa and ordinary home conversations could be tapped on Amazon.

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Learning Alexa is associated with a number of difficulties.such as various communication languages, slang words, dialects and accent. Therefore, people who decrypt recordings and transmit comments to Alexa’s development departments are involved in correcting voice assistant errors. This is a traditional training scheme that is used in both Apple, Facebook and Google.

The problem with the recordings of conversations betweenusers and Alexa is a possible leak of confidential information. Among the thousands of employees involved in decryption, there were both permanent and temporary workers. In addition, some conversations may allow identifying users or wearing confidential information. Also remains an open question the duration of the storage of records and the reliability of their protection against hacking by hackers or unscrupulous personnel.

How did the journalists know that the workers involvedduring the decryption process, they are obliged to inform Amazon about suspicious conversations (domestic violence, rape, crime, etc.), so that the company promptly reported incidents to law enforcement agencies. Employees also conducted the practice of exchanging unusual, comic recordings of user conversations among themselves in a special chat. There they also discussed incomprehensible illegible phrases, etc.

On an article by journalists from the Bloomberg Companyofficially stated that the rules for working with records exclude the possibility of identifying users, and in case of violation of standards, employees were immediately dismissed. In addition, only a small number of recordings were necessary for audition to increase the efficiency of Alexa. All information is also protected by multifactor authentication and encryption.