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Amazon's Alexa could soon be eavesdropping on your conversations

Alexa could use your conversations to encourage you to shop. Credit: PA

Soon, your Amazon Echo device could be listening in on your conversations in a bid to personalise advertising to your needs.

Amazon are currently chasing a patent that will allow them to bank the things you say even when you're not speaking directly to your device.

These so-called "sniffer algorithms" could learn all of your likes and dislikes, and use them to target adverts with products Amazon thinks you would like.

Currently, the Echo range of smart speakers, which are powered by virtual assistant Alexa, do not currently use customers' voice recordings for advertising.

Your home assistant could soon b even smarter. Credit: PA

It isn't, however, unheard of for Amazon Alexa's voice recordings to be reused.

An Amazon Echo device was recently used in a murder case in the US, where Arkansas man, James Bates, was charged with first degree murder partly using evidence collected by his Echo home assistant.

The judge eventually dismissed the charges.

Amazon insists it is committed to user privacy, adding that the patent request in the US does not represent their current development plans.

"We take privacy seriously and have built multiple layers of privacy into our Echo devices," an Amazon spokesman said.

"We do not use customers' voice recordings for targeted advertising. Like many companies, we file a number of forward-looking patent applications that explore the full possibilities of new technology."

Amazon could soon be suggesting ads to you based on what it overhears. Credit: PA

Amazon is not the only tech giant to come under speculation on matters of privacy.

Facebook has also come under the microscope, with rumours circulating that microphones built into devices can be used to target users with ads.

The social network's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, strongly denied this during a committee appearance where he was grilled by members of the US congress.