Privacy Incidents

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Privacy Incidents

Tech giants like Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have had privacy incidents between 2018 and 2020; the details about these privacy incidents have been entered in columns E-G of the attached spreadsheet.

Selected Findings

  • In April 2019, Bloomberg reported that Amazon workers had access to the recordings of Alexa owners; some amazon employees revealed that they hear "private or even disturbing sounds while reviewing these clips, along with recordings that weren't triggered by Alexa's wake word."
  • According to a Forbes article, Amazon's workers viewed video clips from one of its home CCTV services to improve its AI analytics. While Amazon said that the clips were offered voluntarily by the customers, a Bloomberg article mentioned that the clips in question are not the kind that homeowners would want to share. Some video clips included obscene content and private moments of homeowners.
  • In 2019, The Guardian reported that Apple hired contractors to review snippets of call recordings; these contractors "regularly heard confidential details, such as medical information, drug deals, and recordings of couples having sex, as part of their job providing quality control, or "grading," the company's Siri voice assistant."
  • In 2019, a report from Motherland revealed that Microsoft allowed third-party contractors to listen to Skype calls and Cortana recordings; some audio clips included intimate conversations of Cortana and Skype users.

Research Strategy

After a careful evaluation, we found that out of all the companies listed in the attached spreadsheet, only five had experienced privacy incidents between 2018 and 2020. We combed through expert commentaries, industry reports, government research studies, case filings, and company documents to find relevant mentions of privacy incidents. However, sources available in the public domain provided no information about any privacy incidents at the companies listed in the spreadsheet. We only found information about the privacy incidents at Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. For all the other companies, we have entered N/A in the respective columns of the attached spreadsheet.
Sources
Sources