Amazon error allowed Alexa user to eavesdrop on another home

Amazon error allowed Alexa user to eavesdrop on another home

Amazon error allowed Alexa user to eavesdrop on another home

A "human error" has made it possible for a German resident using Amazon.com Inc's (AMZN) Alexa voice assistant to access over a thousand audio recordings from another customer.

The files provided much of the same kind of recorded information that would likely be collected by a bug planted in someone's house.

On the recordings, a man and a female companion could be overheard in his home and the magazine was able to identify and contact him through the recorded information, according to the report. In fact, you can check what you've said to Alexa at amazon.com/alexaprivacy and delete portions or the entirety of the stored audio files.

The customer contacted Amazon about the incident but nothing came out of it; he chose to contact CT and provided CT with a sample of the files. "We have resolved the issue with the two customers involved and have taken steps to further improve our processes", an Amazon spokesperson told The Verge in a statement. Reuters noted that Amazon failed to respond to the consumer who received all of those audio files, and the links were deleted after the man loaded them on his home computer.

Sales of virtual assistants, like Amazon's Alexa, are booming in many countries. Amazon insists its Echo devices are not always listening and only start recording upon hearing the word "Alexa".

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Which was weird, because the guy didn't own an Alexa device or use the service at all. 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. The messages included various commands like control Spotify, alarms, whether updates, first names and others. An Amazon representative reportedly told them that one of their staff members had made a one-time error.

The magazine also reported the incident to Amazon - again - interested to see if the company would notify authorities within 72 hours as required by Germany's GDPR law.

Amazon did not answer Gizmodo's questions about how a human error led to this privacy infringement, or whether the company had initially contacted the victim to inform them their sensitive information was shared with a stranger.

The man was extremely surprised to find the files because he has never owned an Alexa.

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