A German man was very confused when he received, at his request, all the information that Amazon possessed on him.
He had requested the data dump through Europe’s GDPR privacy law, and among the records of his Amazon searches and purchases, he was surprised to find no less than 1,700 recordings of him using Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo digital assistant. Surprised because he doesn’t own an Echo. And the voice on the recordings wasn’t his.
That’s right: Amazon had sent him the entire recording set of a complete stranger. He alerted the US tech titan, which didn’t respond but did delete the link to the file download. However, the guy already had the files, and went to our friends at German news outlet Heise. It was able to quickly track down [PDF] the bloke actually speaking, and the name of his girlfriend, thanks to the details on the recordings. Which is, let’s be honest, not exactly comforting. It also means Alexa is keeping a recording of all your queries.