A new video shows a woman asking an Amazon Echo a slew of questions about the Central Intelligence Agency, which it answers. But what happens when she asks it, “Alexa, are you connected to the CIA?”
The video was front page on Reddit this morning. The top comment, by AnxiousLabelPeeler, reads: “Well that’s a little scary.”
The video comes after the WikiLeaks Vault 7 leak earlier this week, which brought charges that anything connected to the internet, regardless of encryption, could be tapped by the CIA.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been connected to the CIA. In 2013, Bezos bought The Washington Post. Shortly thereafter, The Washington Times reports, Bezos “clinched a $600 million contract with the CIA. The contract was supposed to be a deal for Mr. Bezos and his web-based business to build the CIA a private cloud for intel data.”
However, Bezos’ buying of WaPo may also be a CIA plan under Operation Mockingbird. Operation Mockingbird, which may or may not still exist, started in the early 1950s as a large-scale program by the CIA to manipulate news media for propaganda purposes. If Bezos is being funded by the CIA, The Washington Post may not be as keen to be critical of the organization.
The Amazon Echo came out on June 23, 2015, about two years after Bezos’ contract with the CIA. The Amazon Echo has major privacy concerns, as reported by USA Today. They write: “Amazon keeps an audio recording of every voice command you’ve issued to Alexa. According to Amazon, there is also a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word that is stored along with each recording.”
Another viral video published in January last year has an Amazon Echo owner asking Alexa if they were currently being monitored by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Again, Alexa did not respond.
New Vault 7 revelations may make some question how often Alexa is really listening.
UPDATE 3/10/17 @ 10:54 a.m. EST: Alexa has since been updated.
S.J. Prince lives in New York City and is a senior contributor to Heavy. In his free time he enjoys travel and yoga.