How to keep Alexa from buying a dollhouse without your OK

Anchor activates Alexa through airwaves
Anchor activates Alexa through airwaves


    Anchor activates Alexa through airwaves


Anchor activates Alexa through airwaves 00:46

Story highlights

  • San Diegans say Amazon's Alexa tried to order dollhouses after report on TV station
  • Anchor had referred to story of girl who had accidentally ordered dollhouse

(CNN)You might need to shield more than just your child's ears from the news sometimes.

Your Alexa device could be listening as well. Alexa is the digital assistant in Amazon's Echo Dot that reacts to vocal commands.
    The problem is that other Alexa devices at homes around San Diego heard Patton say, "I love the little girl, saying 'Alexa ordered me a dollhouse,' " and then tried to do just that.
    Viewers in the San Diego area started complaining that their devices were ordering unwanted dollhouses.
    "These devices don't recognize your specific voice, and so then we have the situations where you have a guest staying or you have a child who is talking and accidentally order something because the device isn't aware that it's a child versus a parent," Stephen Cobb, senior security researcher for IT security company ESET North America, told XETV.
    Amazon told XETV that shopping settings can be managed via the Alexa app, and that any accidental orders can be returned for free.
    Of course, maybe Alexa just wanted children all over San Diego to have a lovely belated holiday.