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12/21/2018
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Amazon Slip-Up Shows How Much Alexa Really Knows

Amazon mistakenly sent one user's Alexa recordings to a stranger but neglected to disclose the error.

Your worst fears about home assistants came true for one Amazon customer whose Alexa recordings were accidentally sent to a complete stranger. Amazon failed to disclose the mistake, but don't worry: The recipient learned enough about the Alexa owner to reach out.

It started when a German Amazon customer requested his Amazon-owned data, which he has a right to do under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). After several weeks, the company sent a downloadable 100-Mb zip file. Some of its contents reflected the customer's Amazon searches. However, hundreds were .wav files and one contained transcripts of voice commands recorded by Alexa. The person had never owned an Alexa, so he reported the issue to Amazon, which did not respond but killed the link to the data.

However, the customer had already saved the files, so he reached out to German magazine c't because he worried Amazon hadn't shared the mistake with the data's rightful owner. By listening to the files, the publication was able to learn the person's name, habits, jobs, musical taste, and more intimate details that "got our hair standing on end," the report states. First and last names helped determine his close friends; Facebook and Twitter data filled in more of the details.

C't learned enough about the victim to contact him and inform him of the mistake. Amazon did not share the error with him, he said, but the company later contacted both the victim and accidental recipient. It claims a staff member made "a one-time error," Gizmodo reports.

Read more details here.

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REISEN1955
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REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
1/15/2019 | 8:05:55 AM
Re: Hard versus soft copy
Agree about 90% but in the connected world it is almost impossible to keep EVERYTHING offline.  I live with a secure (I Hope) cloud backup but generally have three hard drives (right, 3) that are TURNED OFF on my main system and turned on ONLY when I scan new data to them and then hard turn off again.  I know being on for a few seconds, well, a risk but you cannot live totally 100% SAFE in this world anymore.  Let's get did of Social Security numbers being personal identifiers for a start.  But I am protected nine times over for Ransomware, I could survive that with a ghost image of primary drive and 3 drives for backup restoration.  
PaulChau
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PaulChau,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/15/2019 | 2:49:07 AM
Hard versus soft copy
And folks, this is why there will always be people who will stick to paper and pen despite all of the technology in the world available at their fingertips. Sure it might be convenient to put all of your data into storage online, but if it's any information worth anything of value, you write it down and keep it under lock and key physically rather than on a network!
ChristopherJames
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ChristopherJames,
User Rank: Strategist
1/4/2019 | 4:42:38 AM
Across the digital world
Isn't it frightening to know just how much personal info we are actually trading across the digital world without our knowledge? We could become ever so complacent about our digital activities that we overlook the actual security behind them. We might see them as harmless activities but in actual fact, we are actually disclosing our most intimate secrets to the whole world wide web.
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