Senators press Amazon for answers on improper Echo recording incident

Senators press Amazon for answers on improper Echo recording incident
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Two senators are demanding answers from Amazon following an incident where an Echo device reportedly recorded a couple’s conversation and sent it to an acquaintance.

“While Amazon has stated that the company is evaluating options to make this series of events less likely to occur, we are concerned that the device in this instance performed precisely how it was designed,” Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeRubio vows to slow-walk Biden's China, Spain ambassador nominees Senate confirms Thomas Nides as US ambassador to Israel Flake, Cindy McCain among latest Biden ambassadors confirmed after delay MORE (R-Ariz.) and Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsSenators: US allies concerned Senate won't pass annual defense bill The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay Can America prevent a global warming cold war? MORE (D-Del.) wrote in a letter to the company on Friday.

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“Without prompt and meaningful action, we expect that additional instances like the one summarized above will happen again,” they added.

Flake chairs a Senate Judiciary subcommittee on technology and privacy, and Coons is the top Democrat on the panel.

The incident occurred in May in Portland, Ore. Amazon said it was a freak occurrence that was a result of the couple’s device misinterpreting part of their conversation as a series of voice commands.

A spokeswoman for Amazon did not immediately respond when asked for comment on the letter from Flake and Coons.

The two senators also included a list of questions about how Amazon’s Echo devices operate and how the company uses the consumer data that they collect.

“The increasing popularity of in-home, internet-connected devices and voice-activated technologies raises questions about the types of data they collect, store, and share, and the degree to which consumers control their personal information,” the letter reads. “Companies, like Amazon, that offer services through these devices must address these concerns by prioritizing consumer privacy and protecting sensitive personal information.”