Amazon just sent 1,700 private Alexa recordings to the wrong person

Amazon sent 1,000 audio recordings of an Alexa user to the wrong guy

Amazon sent 1,000 audio recordings of an Alexa user to the wrong guy

Amazon sent recordings made by its Alexa virtual assistant to the wrong user-a man who reportedly had never used the product. Although he soon found that the download link he'd been sent was no longer working, he'd still saved the files on his computer.

CT created a profile of the user and was able to identify the customer, his girlfriend, and some friends, using it. CT contacted the customer and he confirmed that his voice was on the recordings. "We have resolved the issue with the two customers involved and have taken steps to further improve our processes. We were also in touch on a precautionary basis with the relevant regulatory authorities", Amazon added.

These files even had audio recordings of the person in the shower, according to the report. The number of USA adults who use the devices will grow 15% next year to 74.2 million, eMarketer forecasts, while more than one quarter (27%) of them will use a smart speaker at least once per month.

The incident in Germany follows a widely covered Alexa privacy mishap that occurred much closer to Amazon's home.

Notably, this is not the first time that Amazon has been caught in a tight spot. What you might not know is that Amazon has always been adamant that the only people privy to what goes on between you and Alexa - your idle googling, your repeated commands that she play Despacito - are you, and Amazon itself.

This isn’t the first time an Amazon user received recordings of someone else.
Elaine Thompson  AP
This isn’t the first time an Amazon user received recordings of someone else. Elaine Thompson AP

As it turns out, both the men had filed a request under the GDPR, requesting Amazon to provide them a copy of their data.

Once Alexa-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo hear their "wake word", they record every voice request a user makes and stores them on the company's servers. Amazon also claimed it had discovered the problem itself, erasing the involvement of the first man and c't in bringing this issue to its attention.

As The Post has written, voice-based devices like Amazon's Echo and Google Home are always "awake", passively listening for commands to activate. The reason given is one of "human error".

The same media also reported that 41 out of 47 surveyed investment analysts had rated Amazon.com Inc's stock as "Buy", while 1 - as "Hold". The fact Amazon is referring to this as an isolated case suggests it may be an automated system, but human intervention was required which resulted in a mistake being made.

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