An Amazon Alexa user in Germany received a vast trove of a stranger’s voice recordings after requesting his own recording history, it has emerged.
Amazon has acknowledged a ‘human error’ that led to the user receiving a link containing 1,700 voice recordings from another poor Alexa patron. The company says this was an isolated case, but isn’t offering any more details on how this may have happened.
The man who received the recordings contacted Amazon in order to make them aware of the mistake, but was slow to receive a response. The company then deleted the recordings from the link, but the user had already downloaded them to his PC.
Related: Amazon Alexa guide 2018
German trade publication c’t heard the recordings, which featured a man and his female companion talking idly within the home. The publication identified and contacted the second man via those recordings to make him aware of what had happened.
What featured in the recordings is unknown outside of the parties involved. However, if the pair were overheard talking normally, it suggests Alexa was making recordings of more than the regular commands uttered when the wake word is spoken.
“This unfortunate case was the result of a human error and an isolated single case,” an Amazon spokesman told Reuters on Thursday. “We resolved the issue with the two customers involved and took measures to further optimize our processes. As a precautionary measure we contacted the relevant authorities.”
This isn’t the first time Amazon has violated the privacy of users through the Alexa assistant. A family in the U.S. city of Portland complained private audio recordings had been sent to a random person within their contact list.
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