Amazon's Alexa sent 1,700 recordings to the wrong person

The Amazon Echo Sub a speaker is demonstrated in September. Amazon has not disclosed how many times users have improperly been granted access to another person’s recordings

He pointed out the mistake to Amazon, who then deleted the download link to the files, although it did not reply directly to his message.

Amazon accidentally sent 1,700 recordings of someone speaking to Alexa to the wrong person, according to a German magazine.

The magazine used the audio to determine the identity of the man Alexa recorded and contacted him.

"This unfortunate case was the result of a human error and an isolated single case", said an Amazon spokesperson on Thursday. "As a precautionary measure, we contacted the relevant authorities".

The Alexa user was contacted by Amazon about the breach only after the conversation between Amazon and c't took place, three days after he was first interviewed by the magazine. It's not an isolated incident, according to Reuters. Roughly 50 million US homes have some sort of smart speaker device, according to a report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

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When a person using Amazon.com's voice assistant in Germany requested to listen to his archive of recordings, he got much more than he was expecting. If the files are not deleted, under GDRP rules in Europe, users are able to request a all this data in a downloadable format.

Steve Kuncewicz, a partner at law firm BLM said that it was "quite embarrassing" for Amazon but the fact that it only involved the data of one person meant the regulator might "take a pragmatic approach".

The artificial intelligence powered assistant, which first launched in the United Kingdom in 2016 with the first generation Echo smart speakers, can be used to answer questions and queries as well as respond to commands around playing music and giving news and weather updates.

Many consumers have voiced concerns over privacy and the potential for unwanted eavesdropping with digital assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, or the Google Assistant.

The unnamed individual contacted Amazon to ask for all the records the company held on him, a right European Union citizens have as part of the recently enacted GDPR privacy legislation. The hack comes as the company works night-and-day on operations making artificial intelligence better at handling complex human interactions. Amazon blamed the incident on "human error", saying that it was able to optimize its processes following the incident.

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