In recent years privacy has truly become a currency. As a global populous, we all now live in a world that is characterized by digital interactions facilitated by social media. We are all navigating a vast new landscape littered with a variety of digital integrations like smart home devices that are supported by artificial intelligence and have machine learning capabilities. However, given this new avenue that we are all currently traversing together is so new, there has been very little done in the way of implementation of privacy regulations and the limitation of data collection on individual users. It is only more recently that social media companies and tech giants are being held increasingly accountable for their questionable practices. This had resulted in many individuals having to take it upon themselves to be more proactive in taking steps to protect their privacy. In her quest to find more about her personal privacy, one such individual found that Amazon had thousands of recordings of her voice.
A TikTok user, whose channel is @my.data.not.yours, posted a video where she revealed that she discovered Amazon has such a wide breadth of information on her. In addition to the recording of her voice, which had been largely been acquired from her Alexa equipped Amazon Echo, she found that they also had a complete list of all the contacts in her phone and could even determine her exact location based on the GPS in her Echo. Watch the short video here.
The women’s channel is largely focused on exposing companies’ unjust privacy practices and policies. She did a follow-up video that outlined how a person curious to know how much information Amazon has on them could ask for copies of all the information being stored on Amazon servers. Take a look at how she retrieved her info here.
Her initial video went viral and currently has over 2.7 million views. The amount of exposure the video received provided a vast array of public reactions. And the reactions turned out to be remarkably mixed. Some were, unsurprisingly, flabbergasted and appalled at the amount of info that Amazon retains on a single individual, including their voice. Other commentators seemed indifferent, almost resigned to the fact that this is the reality of things at present. Still, others had the knee-jerk reaction to blame the user for not properly structuring her privacy settings across her Amazon devices. One person stated, “The fact that you didn’t know all this is more of reflection on you than Amazon.”
Whether you are outraged at the amount of data that Amazon could potentially have on you, couldn’t care either way, or feel as though it’s up to an individual to take steps to protect themselves, this example certainly highlights that data collection on individual users is a prevailing problem. Amazon collecting personal information is not something that is unique to them. Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg are currently in the throes of an ongoing privacy lawsuit with violations dating back to 2011. Even Apple was criticized recently for almost implementing a questionable CSAM policy with the launch of iOS 15. It’s overtly obvious that the world still has a long way to go before this digital privacy disaster can even begin to be rectified.