Amazon fires multiple employees for leaking customer data, a year after a similar incident

January 13, 2020 in International

Amazon recently fired multiple employees that were involved in leaking customer data to outside parties, Business Insider has learned.

Amazon notified a group of customers this week that at least one employee shared the customers’ email addresses and phone numbers “to a third-party in violation of our policies,” according to the email seen by Business Insider. It said the employee has been fired because of the leak, and that no other information related to the user accounts were shared externally.

In an email to Business Insider, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed the incident, saying its internal system identified “suspicious behavior” and immediately terminated those employees involved. The news was reported earlier by TechCrunch.

“The individuals responsible for this incident have been terminated and we are supporting law enforcement in their prosecution,” Amazon’s spokesperson told Business Insider.

Not much is known about this particular incident. Amazon’s spokesperson declined to share more details about the number of customers affected or how many employees were involved.

The move reflects Amazon’s recent efforts to further protect personal customer data. But it also shows how Amazon employees are looking to benefit from leaking customer data, as a similar incident was reported in 2018.

At the time, the Wall Street Journal reported that some Amazon employees sold customer data to third-party sellers and brokers, who then used the data to get better reviews and improve their sales. Those employees were also fired immediately, the report said.

More recently, when reports surfaced about Amazon calling the Honey app a “security risk” this week, the company said the move was intended to “warn customers about browser extensions that collect personal shopping data without their knowledge or consent such as customer name, shipping and/or billing address, purchase data and payment method from the checkout page.”

Also, a number of sellers have told Business Insider recently that they are no longer able to view specific customer names and addresses on their order pages. The issue was brought up in Amazon’s public seller forum too, drawing dozens of responses from affected sellers.