It was just this past May that Amazon had to explain itself after Alexa recorded a family’s private chats on their Echo speaker, and then accidentally sent them to a third party. At the time, Amazon explained that Alexa heard a word in the background that sounded like “Alexa” at which point it recorded the conversation and sent it as a message to a contact. A new report now details a similar Alexa mishap. But this time around, it’s Amazon that sent an Echo user more than 1,000 recordings belonging to someone else.
It’s not an Alexa bug, but “a human error” made by the company, Reuters explains. The issue was first detailed by German publication c’t. The Amazon customer wanted to listen to recordings of his own interactions with the smart speaker, at which point he discovered he was also able to access 1,700 audio files belonging to someone else. Amazon mistakenly bundled all these recordings together, providing the customer with a download link.
The first customer received no reply when he notified Amazon about the error. By the time Amazon realized the mistake and cleaned the download package, the customer had already downloaded all the files.
The original report notes that the recordings revealed conversations between Alexa and a couple, and the magazine was able to identify him with the help of the recorded information. Meanwhile, Amazon said it’s just an isolated incident that was fixed.
“This unfortunate case was the result of a human error and an isolated single case,” an Amazon spokesman told Reuters. “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.”
Amazon records and holds Echo data from all your interactions with Alexa, so you should be mindful of what information you share with the assistant. You can also delete individual recordings associated with your Echo activity using the mobile Alexa app. The other option is going to Amazon’s Content and Devices page to delete all your recordings at once. We recommend you choose that route, and do it as often as you can.