Amazon's Alexa team can apparently find your home address in seconds
In the world of smart assistants, Amazon Alexa is one of the most popular and widely-used. It's accessible through smart speakers, phones, and smartwatches, and while it's an incredibly powerful tool, the convenience of using it comes at the expense of your privacy.
Privacy concerns surrounding Alexa, Google Assistant, etc. aren't new, but according to a new report from Bloomberg, employees of Amazon's Alexa Data Services team have access to people's precise home address — and in some cases, full names, phone numbers, and more.
The Alexa Data Services team is in charge of reviewing recordings of Alexa conversations to help train the AI and has thousands of members in Boston, India, and Romania. Per Bloomberg:
Bloomberg says it was shown a demonstration of this, and during it, saw an Amazon employee take the latitude and longitude of one user stored in Amazon's database, entered it into Google Maps, and had an image of that area and the user's house in "less than a minute."
In addition to location data, a smaller category of employees "who tag transcripts of voice recordings to help Alexa categorize requests" have access to even more data:
Amazon has since issued a statement in response to this story, saying:
Despite that statement, one employee that spoke with Bloomberg noted that "they believed the vast majority of workers in the Alexa Data Services group were, until recently, able to use the software."
While we have no reason to believe that any user information was compromised or used maliciously, the fact that such sensitive data is so readily available is not a good look for Amazon. Then again, if you're trusting a device to live in your house and constantly listen to you, are you really that concerned with things like this?
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When Joe isn't acting as the News Editor for Android Central, he can be found helping out with articles here and there at iMore. He was last spotted at Starbucks surrounded by peppermint mochas. Have a tip? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!