Are Amazon employees peeping on customers’ shopping histories? Probably not us regular users, but famous Amazoners might be a different story!
According to Wired, the online retail giant lets its junior staff snoop on the shopping histories of A-listers like Kanye West, stars from certain super hero movies, and an unnamed celeb who bought several sex toys from the site!
Former employees claimed that thousands of customer service employees around the globe have “free for all” access to look up any user’s purchase history. While this was implemented to speed up service, some staff have allegedly used this power to spy on the purchase histories of celebs — as well as those of former and current romantic partners. The source explained that it’s against company rules to make searches like these, but said “everybody did it” anyway.
These revelations came from an investigation by Wired and the Center for Investigative Reporting’s Reveal radio show based on interviews with former Amazon employees, in addition to memos and internal docs dating from 2015 to 2018.
An unnamed ex-employee said he specifically remembered co-workers looking up the shopping history of Kanye and stars of Marvel’s Avengers movies, adding that another celebrity, who was not named, was found to have picked out some sex toys. (Looking at you, Dakota Johnson.)
The confidante went on to allege that “unruly vulnerabilities” allowed employees to start a “research session” to look up a customer even when they weren’t on the phone.
Gary Gagnon, Amazon’s former chief information security officer, called the system a “free for all” that left the tech giant at risk of “international threat actors,” pointing out that there was no internal system designed to prevent staff from abusing their access when he was with the company. He shared:
“It was all put together with tape and bubblegum.”
Kind of ridiculous, seeing as we’re talking about one of the biggest companies in the world…
Worse still, the report claimed that, in 2017, Amazon employees realized the names and American Express card numbers of up to 24 million customers had been left exposed on an internal network for two years. While the exposure was corrected, Gagnon said there was no way of knowing whether anyone had accessed the information while it was still exposed, because the logs of who had accessed the data only went back 90 days.
According to a 2018 security memo, one of the causes of the issues was Amazon staffers’ habit of copying data and storing it in various locations, leading to a “mostly undocumented proliferation of copies of their required data sets.”
For its part, Amazon insisted to DailyMail.com that there wasn’t any evidence to suggest the data was ever exposed outside of its internal system.
As for the claims that employees spy on celebs’ purchase histories? Amazon said it had strict policies forbidding this, adding that it “strongly rejected” the suggestion that abuse of these privileges is widespread. A spokesperson told DM:
“Across 25 years in business, Amazon has an exceptional track record of protecting customer data and has invested billions of dollars to build systems and processes to keep data secure. We have relentlessly high standards for security and privacy, and we continuously assess and implement new measures when we see opportunity to further strengthen our protections.”
Do U believe the company?