A man in Germany was curious what Amazon’s Alexa had recorded in his home, so he contacted Amazon and asked to listen back to his recordings. What he got back was something unexpected: thousands of recordings from someone else, according to a report by CNBC.
In addition to his own recordings, the man was able to listen to about 1,700 audio files from someone he didn’t know. The German magazine c’t, which originally reported the story, said it was able to contact the stranger through the recordings.
“This unfortunate case was the result of a human error and an isolated single case,” an Amazon spokesman said on Thursday (Dec. 20). “We resolved the issue with the two customers involved and took measures to further optimize our processes. As a precautionary measure, we contacted the relevant authorities.”
When the man contacted Amazon, he said he didn’t get a reply at first. Then, the files were deleted, but he already had the downloaded copies on his computer.
Meanwhile, the Amazon Echo, which features Alexa technology, has been sold out at several online stores in Europe and North America, and some versions of units won’t ship out until January.
Amazon said it sold millions of Echo devices during the Thanksgiving season and also on Cyber Monday. The Echo Dot was the best-selling iteration, the company said.
The Echo is the most popular smart speaker model in the United States, according to an October survey by Strategy Analytics. The Echo Spot shows availability starting Jan. 1, and the Echo Dot is listed as unavailable in European countries where Amazon sells it. Estimated delivery dates are in January in Britain and as late as April in Germany.
In July, it was reported that the smart speaker installed base will get close to the 100 million mark by the end of 2018, and expected to hit 225 million sold by 2020.