Companies store a ton of data. You know it. Everyone knows this. But we are not always happy with the types of data they store. We rightly get quite uneasy when we hear that our address, credit card number, mental health consultations or private conversations are only hanging on an Internet server where they could end up in the wrong hands, like, for example, an employee of the company that
The latest example: Bloomberg reports today that a team of employees of Amazon Alexa "spread across three continents" can find the address of their home if they use an Alexa-enabled loudspeaker. Amazon tends to request location data to help answer questions such as "Alexa, where is the nearest taco truck?" And, sometimes, employees review voice queries to improve the system. These employees can access customer location information, although there is no evidence that they have abused that access yet.
(Apparently, my nearest truck taco is 17.9 miles away.)
Companies usually gather this information to serve you (although sometimes they serve advertisers or sold to third parties), and have been writing some of them (addresses, credit card numbers) long before the Internet existed. You can not send something to your door without a company knowing where that door is.
But often companies do not emphasize the repercussions of collecting and storing their data. Or the fact that – because we really do not know how carefully a given company protects that data and because they can change their policies at any time – whatever a company hires to interact with this data could, in theory, violate their privacy .
If it's been a while since you've considered these things, this post is for you. And do not be surprised if you see this publication again in the future, next time there will be a Today I Learn about how a company's employees could, in theory, be able to do infamous things with an internal database.