Amazon User Mistakenly Receives Another Customer's Alexa Recordings


Instead, he was sent a link which allowed access to 1,700 audio files from another Alexa user he had no association with. A female voice speaking to Alexa indicates that he has also a female companion.

According to a report in German technology magazine C't, the user - who is based in Germany - made a request to Amazon under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to access his own data, but was sent those of another man and a woman in conversation instead.

"Suddenly, we found ourselves in the intimate sphere of strangers without their knowledge", a representative for c*t said.

The man heard on the audio files was identifiable through the information on the Alexa recordings and contacted by the German magazine.

The person who received the stranger's recordings claimed he initially got no reply from Amazon when the user informed the company that he was given the wrong files.

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The online retail giant said in a statement: "This was an unfortunate case of human error and an isolated incident".

Having saved the voice files already to his computer, the man sought the help of German tech publication c't, which investigated further on his behalf.

Amazon stores Alexa voice data indefinitely in the cloud. 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. "As a precautionary measure we contacted the relevant authorities", the Amazon spokesman added. You can also delete individual recordings associated with your Echo activity using the mobile Alexa app. The recordings also contained copies of Spotify commans, weather queries and first and last names.

These files even had audio recordings of the person in the shower, according to the report.

"The potential uses for the Amazon datasets are off the charts", Marc Groman, an expert on privacy and technology policy who teaches at Georgetown Law, told reporters. The reason given is one of "human error". Back then Amazon called it "an extremely rare occurrence" and blamed it on a one-of a kind string of coincidences where the device interpreted the user's conversation as a series of directions to blurt out what they were saying to a random.