Personal Amazon customer data exposed: technical error to blame

Amazon reports about a technical error that leaked emails and customers' names just before Black Friday

Amazon blames technical error for leaked customer dataEmail addresses and names of Amazon customers got leaked due to the technical error, according to the company.

Recently, Amazon informed its users about the “technical error” which exposed their names and email addresses.[1] The news caused frustration because it is still not clear how many people were affected and further details about this incident. Fortunately, it is already known that the data leak is not a result of the data breach.[2]

The Amazon reached its customers on 21 November, just before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with the email providing the following information:

We're contacting you to let you know that our website inadvertently disclosed your email address due to a technical error. The issue has been fixed. This is not a result of anything you have done, and there is no need for you to change your password or take any other action.

While the company blames the “technical error,” it hasn't explained what exactly triggered this error. There hasn't been any response to further questions, so people tend to believe that there is something else behind this error.[3]

Little to no details cause more questions

The email that surfaced the public after Amazon's statement is rather unsatisfying because the notification is brief and short. No matter how little the issue seems to be, Amazon hasn't explained anything to affected users.

There is no information when this technical error occurred or how long personal details had been exposed. Besides, it is unclear if someone had access to the information at any point.

According to people's speculations, this incident could be related to something bigger and the company simply hides everything behind this “technical error” issue. Having in mind that Amazon has already been dealing with issues related to data leaks caused by its employees, there is a possibility that this is yet another case when the company didn't manage to keep the sensitive information private.

Not the first issue with Amazon's information security

While this “technical issue'' exposing personal details seems to be fixed, we shouldn't forget that Amazon has already had issues with the security of user information. According to numerous reports, Amazon employees had been sharing internal data, including search optimization details and email addresses, with other sellers in exchange for certain fees.[4]

Amazon has fired a few employees in the USA and China, but the company hasn't disclosed if there was one person's activity or numerous employees leaking data to the middlemen. However, what is clear is that, according to various reports, sellers have been paying Amazon's employees up to $2,000 or similar amount of money for the email addresses and similar data.

Customer email addresses allow these sellers to contact them directly and ask to write positive reviews. Some employees were asked to write these reviews themselves for money. This is an important issue because reviews are highly affecting the seller's position in Amazon's search results and the bigger it is, the bigger are the sales and income.[5]

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Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer technology expert

Jake Doevan is one of News Editors for He graduated from the Washington and Jefferson College , Communication and Journalism studies.

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