Amazon was the last major tech company to issue a "transparency report" detailing what kinds of law-enforcement requests they'd serviced, and where; when they finally did start issuing them, they buried them on obscure webpages deep in their corporate info site and released them late on Friday afternoons.
But it's not just heel-dragging and obfuscation that makes Amazon's transparency reports so deficient: they're also extremely coarse, with no breakout based on the types of products implicated in the law-enforcement requests the company receives. That would be cause for concern in any company with so many diverse product lines, but it's especially worrisome because Amazon sells a line of internet-connected, always-on microphones (including a line of camera-equipped devices intended for use by undressed people in their bedrooms!) and the potential for invasive official spying is thus off-the-charts bad.
Amazon's latest report shows a crazily high spike in law enforcement requests, but the company will not say which products or services were implicated by these requests. With 35 million Amazon speakers in American homes, this is worse than negligent.
Just one more reason that no one should own one of these things.
Unlike other companies, Amazon doesn't even say how many customers were affected.
By that logic, a single government data request could amount to any number of customers or potentially all its customers. (Amazon, for its part, says in its reports that it "objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate" subpoenas, search warrants, and court orders.)
Amazon won't say if it hands your Echo data to the government [Zack Whittaker/Zdnet]
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