The tech team responsible for auditing Alexa's user commands also has access to the system's location, and can easily find home addresses by typing geographic coordinate data into third-party mapping software, five employees familiar with the Alexa programme have told Bloomberg.
One employee revealed to the business resource that workers could see home and work addresses, as well as the phone numbers customers entered into the Alexa app when setting up the device. If a user shared contacts with Alexa, their name and email address would appear in the Amazon dashboard as well, although that issue was reportedly dealt with recently by covering up some digits of the phone number.
When asked to comment, an Amazon spokesperson told Gizmodo that access to Alexa's internal tool data was "highly controlled" and "granted to a limited number of employees", but did not specify how many that "limited number" was, with Bloomberg warning it could be "thousands of employees and contractors, spread across work sites from Boston to Romania and India".
Social media users weren't quite sure what to make of the revelations, with some brushing off the privacy concerns and surrendering, saying it was the price to pay for living in the digital age, with others saying they were not at all surprised.
Breaking News: Amazon knows where you live after you’ve provided them your home address.— Christopher 🍕 (@CHuebner30) 24 апреля 2019 г.
It amazes me that people are still surprised by stuff like this.— Hoot (@NateHoot) 24 апреля 2019 г.
If people want to listen to my wife and I arguing about dinner, or me telling my 2 year old to not color on the windows, so be it. There's no such thing as privacy in the digital age.— …. (@meatchoke2) 25 апреля 2019 г.
Others weren't so nonchalant, saying it was bad enough that Alexa could overhear conversations. Finally, some users thanked their lucky stars that they never bought the digital assistant, or its Google Home competitor.
@adrianweckler Having them potentially able to overhear things was problematic enough.— Aidan Walsh (@aidan_walsh) 24 апреля 2019 г.
Good thing I’ll never own an Alexa or google home— Riley Mac (@rhighly_) 24 апреля 2019 г.
I am stunned that people have this kind of technology in their homes. 😱😱— Elaine Niddery (@ElaineNiddery) 25 апреля 2019 г.
Next week we'll learn there's a hidden camera Amazon forgot to mention.— Matthew Arthur (@Matt_Annapolis) 24 апреля 2019 г.