Amazon sends man 1,700 Alexa voice recordings from a stranger

Originally published at:



“The Lives of Others: Part Two, Electric Boogaloo Digital Bugaboo”


That guy seems like a bit of a jerk for distributing the recordings he received in error. I get that Amazon screwed up here, but let the other guy have his privacy.


p.s. Can anyone find the German article cited in the WaPo article?

1 Like


More than a decade ago people were telling me “You’re techie! Why won’t you join Facebook? It’s harmless and fun and you’re missing out.” Now I’m getting a similar vibe from Alexa and Google’s assistant.


The original article is located at: It is of course in greman but includes a link to the English language version of it.


Good point, but if he hadn’t, nobody would really know about it. It’s not like Amazon would bother to tell the other guy. They would have never made a peep to anyone other than deleting the link to the files.
It’s also important that these things are publicly known so we can all see what a privacy nightmare these things are


Thank you! And for anyone else who may be interested, here is the English-language version of the original long(er)-form article:

1 Like

Blame the humans - as usual.

1 Like

Amazon screwed up AND THEN tried to retcon reality by reaching in and deleting the files.

The only jerks here are Amazon.


Yeah, exactly.

This was an unfortunate case of human error

Meaning: the humans should have never erroneously assumed they weren’t being surveiled.


Well put.

Not 100% sure how the law rolls in this jurisdiction but I know in Canada you have to inform people of a data breach or face fines up to $100k that have extra territorial reach.

So… breach? What breach?

/edit: words for clarity


I’m not saying that Amazon didn’t screw up here, but deleting the files you accidentally put on the public server is step #1 for what you do when you have a data leak.

It seems the Alexia release process is still manual and some wage slave at Amazon made an error and corrected it when informed.

Further steps the Amazon employee or their manager should have taken:

  1. Request that the original guy delete the file from his home machine and not distribute it.
  2. Inform the other guy about the data breech.
  3. Improve the process for bundling up Alexia recordings to prevent this from happening in the future. It seems like the kind of thing that could be automated pretty easily.

Some or all of those may have happened, we don’t know from the story.


Yep Which is why we know enough to stay the fucking HELL away from these things.


Every time Google/Alexa mention, “human error,” I think WTF? Why is that even worth mentioning? Does that justify anything?

“Oh, the Exxon Valdex spill was no big deal because it was just human error.”

“Your honor, you must set me free because even though I murdered that man, and it was premeditated, it was simply human error.”

1 Like

It’s EU, so GDPR applies, and Amazon had a duty to inform the local authorities of the breach. I CBA clicking through to see if this happened at all, or if it happened before the media were informed.

as you know from previous comments i’ve made, i don’t own a mobile phone in part because i refuse to pay a monthly charge for carrying a tracking device with me on my person. similarly, we do not own any of these devices in part because i refuse to pay for a surveillance/listening post to be set up in my home. i made my original decision years ago when gps devices were inextricably embedded in every cell phone by law, and despite years of people laughing about my rationale there’s been more an more data to support my position.

1 Like