The Alexa team at Amazon, which reviews users’ Alexa commands, has access to location data of customers and they can easily find a user’s home address if they want to.
The revelation was made in a Bloomberg report where five unnamed employees familiar with the program confirmed the same to the publication.
The Alexa team in question is stationed at different locations across three continents. These worksites are spread from Boston to Romania and India. Their job is to transcribe, annotate and analyze sections of voice recordings picked up by Alexa.
The purpose behind establishing this team was to help Alexa improve at understanding and responding to commands. But team members who can access Alexa users’ geographic coordinates can easily find their homes by mapping those coordinates into third-party apps.
Although there are no concrete reports on whether Amazon employees with this level of access have abused it, a few members of the Alexa team are concerned that the company is risking user privacy by granting such broad access unnecessarily.
Location is one of the most sensitive user data, which if misused can be used to any extent to harm someone.
Amazon says that “employees do not have direct access to information that can identify the person or account as part of this workflow.”
But the company also admits that the permission has been granted to “a limited number of employees.” The e-commerce giant has said that it “audits employee access to internal tools and limits access whenever and wherever possible.”
Despite this, the Bloomberg report claims that an Amazon team member was quickly able to find the image and corresponding address of a user in a demonstration. The employee took less than a minute to find all the details just from one recording of the person’s Alexa command.