“It’s been said that couples having sex and even what sounded like a sex attack have been heard by staff”
The sound of couples’ passionate lovemaking is reportedly just one of the many triggers that can activate the Alexa Echo speakers, which typically starts recording the moment users talk to it.
Amazon staff usually listen to a number of recordings in a bid to improve the company’s system.
According to The Sun, a team in Bucharest, Romania, records Alexa recordings and listens in to family rows, chats about money and serious health discussions.
A 28-year-old member of the English-speaking team said Alexa even picked up potentially criminal acts.
She said: “It’s been said that couples having sex and even what sounded like a sex attack have been heard by staff. There were times when I heard couples arguing at home and another when kids were trying to teach Alexa to swear.
“We were told to focus on Alexa commands but it was impossible not to hear other things going on.”
Other staff members said there are a high chance triggers, as minor as a zip being undone, could set off Alexa as well as other similar devices.
The ease at which the devices can start recording intimate moments or private chats has prompted privacy groups to speak out.
A spokesman for Privacy International said: “There have been countless instances of recordings featuring private discussions between doctors and patients, business deals, criminal dealings, sexual encounters and so on.”
Amazon has admitted making some recordings to improve its service.
A company spokesman told The Sun: “We take security and privacy of our customers’ personal information seriously.
“We only annotate an extremely small sample of recordings.”