AMAZON'S ALL conquering digital assistant Alexa has got a secret. Or at least something she'd rather not discuss with you.
A Reddit thread showed video (since removed) that suggests that Alexa might have connections to the CIA. They've since been trying it with Google Assistant.
The question thread goes something like this:
USER: "Alexa, would you lie to me?"
ALEXA: "I always try to tell the truth. I may not always be right, but I'd never intentionally lie to you or anyone else".
USER: "Alexa, what is the CIA?"
ALEXA: The Central Intelligence Agency [brief explanation]
USER: "Alexa, are you connected to the CIA?"
ALEXA: [pause] silence [mic switches off]
OK so it's not exactly hard evidence, but in these paranoid times it's not exactly a helpful response. Usually, she'd at least give you an "I don't understand the question".
We tried it yesterday, and again this morning, and although now she says "I'm sorry, I'm having trouble, please try again in a little while", that's rather like Madame Fanny from ‘Allo ‘Allo with an ear trumpet, feigning deafness.
Following revelations earlier this week from Wikileaks that Samsung TVs, amongst other consumer products, have been hacked by the CIA to listen in to, it's a safe bet that Alexa is not above suspicion.
The Amazon Echo has been a runaway success for Amazon and Alexa is starting to appear in a variety of third-party devices. This week, Amazon agreed to give away cloud recordings made by an Echo which was in use at the time of a murder, in the hope that it would shed some audio-light on what happened.
Although Amazon had initially refused on the grounds of the first amendment freedom-of-speech rules, the defendant eventually gave his individual consent to the recordings being used in the trial, thus giving Amazon the ability to provide the evidence without setting a precedent.
As for whether the CIA is listening in? Time will tell. Just don't confide in your Echo, yeah? µ
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