AN urgent warning has been issued to smart speaker owners as MPs probe whether perverts and fraudsters can spy on you through Amazon Alexa.
Households in the UK are being told there are concerns criminals are using the talking device to tune into your activity.
A Westminster select committee previously held an inquiry into the possible abuse of the technology.
Tory MP and Chairman of the committee Julian Knight said: “The innocent little box sitting inconspicuously in the corner of the room would seem to offer the ultimate in convenience.
“tuttavia, there is always the danger it will have a more sinister side, with users potentially sacrificing privacy, put at risk of cyber-crime, or left open to uncovering harmful content online.”
Alexa has an ‘always-on’ microphone which can be muted – but this means it cannot hear the trigger words it needs to respond.
Cybersecurity expert Professor George Loukas told the Digital, Cultura, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee: “Tech-assisted abuse at home is common nowadays.
“Looking at the history of audio commands on an Amazon Echo is enough to see what was discussed and requested.
“At the very least, users should expect that when they do not need to use the smart speaker, it should be switched off.”
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It comes after a Scottish sex offender admitted he used an Amazon Alexa to spy on his victim.
Aaron Herschell, 25, is the first person to be convicted in the UK for listening to conversations through the device.
Herschell – who was jailed back in 2017 for attempted rape – told Livingston Sheriff Court last week he connected his device to hers “without her knowledge”.
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The e-commerce company Amazon said: “Privacy and security are built into every device, feature and experience.
“Unfortunately there are rare occasions when some people go to devastating lengths to misuse technology.”