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Who has Amazon’s Alexa been eavesdropping on?

An Amazon user in Germany asked for all of the data that Amazon had on him, and received a lot more than what he was expecting.

Some of the files reportedly related to his Amazon searches. But according to the report there were also hundreds of Wav files and a PDF cataloging transcripts of Alexa’s interpretations of voice commands. According to c’t magazine, this was peculiar to this user because he doesn’t own any Alexa devices and had never used the service. He also didn’t recognize the voices in the files.


C’t magazine listened to many of the files and was able “to piece together a detailed picture of the customer concerned and his personal habits.” It found that he used Alexa in various places, has an Echo at home, and has a Fire device on his TV. They noticed that a woman was around at times. They listened to him in the shower.

You’ll never find an Echo or any other smart speaker in my house, and stories like this are why. Just remember: always behave as if Amazon, Google, Facebook, et al., don’t really care about your privacy, because chances are, they don’t.

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