News Station Says Alexa Command, Thousands of Homes Affected.

You have to be careful in this connected age, even you- big news stations.

Amazon Alexa- the company’s voice controlled Artificial Intelligence device- has been at the centre of more controversies than it would probably have liked to be lately, but none (in my opinion) can top this:

It was reported that a girl in America used Amazon Alexa to buy a $160 doll’s house simply by issuing a command to the product. Stories have hit the news before about kids running up their parents expensive bills, and sites such as Mashable have been advising on how to safeguard against this- but this isn’t where the story ends. This is where things get complicated.

Credit: midcenturymodernmix.com

Many news stations reported on this event, but made one huge mistake when doing so:

They said the exact command which the girl used to order the toy, not realising that people listening in with the volume up might have an Amazon Alexa nearby.

Soon after this news hit TV, reports came flooding in that other homes were being billed for expensive doll’s houses that had been ordered via a command to the AI device.

Whoops.






Glyn Cheeseman‏ @glyncheeseman

Amazon Alexa in many homes hears a news report from TV & then orders a Dolls house. Buying by voice default is set to “on” #bn #4nworks11:16 AM · Jan 10, 2017

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