Thursday January 18, 2018

Amazon Won't Say If It Hands Echo Data To The Government

It's been 3 years since Amazon finally relented and became the last major tech company to release a transparency report on what requests for data it receives from the government. ZDNet is now reporting that those reports, were not so transparent. Aside from not publishing how many users are affected by data requests, it turns out that the transparency reports published in the past, focused solely on Amazon, and not AWS. Amazon also refused to say which products, services, and divisions the data in the report related to.

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It's a bit frightening how much data companies like this have on it's consumers, with no way of knowing what they are doing with it. And the fact that Amazon, at least appears to be obfuscating the data as much as possible only makes matters worse. I still find it silly to pay $100 for a 7 microphone, beamforming, noise cancelling, wiretap; but for those that do it, it's important to know how much of, where that data ends up.

What started as a debut transparency report attempt, with all the hallmarks of aiming to appease its AWS customers (and misconstrued by this reporter), quickly became, albeit three years later, a successful effort to mislead and confuse by deliberately avoiding answering a simple question.