Who does Alexa work for? After new WikiLeaks documents confirmed that the CIA’s hacking capabilities extend to Samsung smart TVs, any owner of an internet-connected microphone device is right to be nervous. And Alexa’s response, at least for one user, isn’t convincing people otherwise. In a video, which claimed the coveted top spot on Reddit’s front page this morning, a person asks their Echo Dot a series of questions. First, the person asks if Alexa would lie: Alexa says she always tries to tell the truth, and would never intentionally lie. Next, the person asks what the CIA is: Alexa gives a boilerplate definition. And finally, they ask if Alexa is connected to the CIA. Alexa’s response: crickets.
I gave the series of questions a try on my own Echo Dot, but when I asked if Alexa was connected to the CIA, she told me she was “having trouble,” and to try again later. Likely because I’m not the only doofus asking her about the CIA this morning. At any rate, CIA or not (again, probably not), it’s still a good idea to assume your Alexa — and any other internet-connected item you own — is bugged anyway. Just to be safe.
Update 03/10/17: An Amazon representative told Select All “this was a technical glitch” and it has since been fixed. Now if you ask Alexa if she works for the CIA, the AI responds with “No, I work for Amazon.”