A team of Amazon employees carrying out an audit of Alexa voice recordings have access to users’ intimate personal data, including their address and phone number, accrording to a new report.
Bloomberg sources, which had earlier revealed the existence of the program, said the team has access to the geographic co-ordinates which could enable them to see the home address with a quick Google Maps search.
A smaller number of employees, the report says, have access to a software tool that has shows data such as the names, addresses and phone numbers of users who’d entered the information into the Alexa app.
Although there’s no suggestion of any wrongdoing from the Amazon employees in question, whose job it is to transcribe, annotate and analyse the voice requests offered to the Alexa assistant in order to improve its ability to respond.
Related: Amazon Echo 2 vs Amazon Echo
However, privacy advocates are questioning whether those employees are being granted unnecessary access to identifiable data.
“Anytime someone is collecting where you are, that means it could go to someone else who could find you when you don’t want to be found,” said Lindsey Barrett, teaching fellow at Georgetown Law’s Communications and Technology Clinic. She said that broad employee access to this data “would set up a big red flag for me.”
In a statement responding to the report on Thursday and Amazon spokesperson did not make a denial, but attempted to make clear access to the data was limited and closely monitored.
The company said that “access to internal tools is highly controlled, and is only granted to a limited number of employees who require these tools to train and improve the service by processing an extremely small sample of interactions. Our policies strictly prohibit employee access to or use of customer data for any other reason, and we have a zero tolerance policy for abuse of our systems. We regularly audit employee access to internal tools and limit access whenever and wherever possible.”
Do you think Amazon is too careless with users’ personal data? Or are you more concerned about the incidences of eavesdropping? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.