October 19, 2021
A woman was shocked to discover how much information Amazon had collected on her from just a few devices – and created a video to shared the shocking truth with others.
TikTok star @my.data.not.yours uploaded a clip for her fans documenting all the information that the tech giant had collected about her.
She said she put in a request but didn’t expect them to have too much, but was ‘not totally comfortable’ with what she discovered.
It turned out that Amazon had her location, all her phone contacts, and thousands and thousands of recordings of her voice – collected from products that she gladly bought and placed in her home.
In the video, she said: “I requested all the data that Amazon has on me, and here’s what I found.
“For reference, I have two dots and one echo, plus a few smart bulbs.”
She then opens a zip filed that had previously been downloaded and it contains many folders, which are titled ‘Alerts’, ‘Answers’, ‘Audio and Transition’, ‘Lists’, ‘Routines’, ‘Shopping’, ‘Skills’, and ‘Video’, amongst others.
She continued: “I decided to click on the audio one and this is what they have. These are all short voice clips which is so scary and this is one of me turning on the light. There are 3534 short audio clips in this folder alone.
“I then clicked on contacts and it turns out they have a full list of contacts from my phone and I never remember syncing that.
“The very last thing that I didn’t know that they had, I could have assumed that they had, but I don’t love that they have, is my location.
“If you open up this (file) here it will show you where you are located, right down to the latitude and longitude.
“I am not totally comfortable with everything they have.”
The video soon had over 2.6 million views alongside 186,000 likes and over 6,000 comments – many of which were from concerned Amazon customers.
One user said: “The fact that you didn’t know all this is more of reflection on you than Amazon.”
And a second said: “It’s scary that people with Echo Dots and Alexa’s etc don’t know that Amazon records you and keeps the recordings.”
While a third joked: “Can someone explain to me why this is ‘scary’? I’m not interesting enough to care if they have my contacts or audio.”
A spokesperson for Amazon said: “We give customers transparency and control over their Alexa experience. Customers can easily review and delete their voice recordings, or choose not to have them saved at all, at any time.
“Customers can import their mobile phone contacts to the Alexa app so they can use features like hands-free calling and messaging; this optional feature, which customers need to set up, can be disabled at any time.
“Finally, you can grant permissions for the Alexa app to use certain data, such as your mobile device’s geolocation, to provide relevant results (e.g., weather, traffic, restaurant recommendations), and you can manage these permissions in the app.”