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Amazon Shreds User Privacy By Sharing Personal Alexa Voice And Data Recordings

23 December, 2018, 01:09 | Author: Vicki Mclaughlin
  • Amazon sent 1,000 audio recordings of an Alexa user to the wrong guy

A German man was mistakenly sent Alexa voice recordings made by another user when he requested a copy of his own data from Amazon.

When the customer first contacted Amazon about the issue, he didn't hear back-and soon found out the link that the retail giant sent him had removed the stranger's audio files. The customer who got access to the files of another user had asked Alexa to play his own recorded conversations when he received the links of audio files of another user.

A representative from Amazon told CNET that "t$3 his was an unfortunate case of human error and an isolated incident" and that it had "taken steps to further improve" its system regarding these requests. "As a precautionary measure we contacted the relevant authorities", the Amazon spokesman said. He saved the files and shared his story with Germanys' C't magazine. Those recordings reportedly contained conversations between a male and a "female companion".

It turned out that the guy, who has been given the pseudonym Martin Schneider, had received all the data - 1700 files worth of it - from another customer.

Days later, both the victim and the receiver of the files were called by Amazon to discuss the incident. Roughly 50 million US homes have some sort of smart speaker device, according to a report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

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When an Amazon customer in Germany contacted the company to review his archived data, he wasn't expecting to receive recordings of a stranger speaking in the privacy of a home.

So you probably already know about Alexa, Amazon's not-at-all-creepy robot voice assistant lady who's already been used to nefarious ends by wily parrots.

"Many of our AI dreams are inspired by science fiction", Rohit Prasad, Amazon's vice president and head scientist of Alexa Artificial Intelligence (AI), said during a talk last month in Las Vegas.

It's not an Alexa bug, but "a human error" made by the company, Reuters explains.

The unnamed individual contacted Amazon to ask for all the records the company held on him, a right European Union citizens have as part of the recently enacted GDPR privacy legislation. The Amazon case demonstrates that leaks may happen for numerous reasons including successful hacking attempts, software error, or human error.

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