Amazon employees spied on the private purchases of celebrities, according to an investigation by Wired and Reveal.
Amazon staffers would routinely snoop on users’ purchase histories as well as using the online marketplace to keep tabs on exes and significant others, according to the investigation, which used internal documents stretching back to 2015 and interviews with former employees.
Employees would look up the purchases of Kanye West and actors who appeared in Marvel’s Avengers films, a former customer service representative told Wired. Some workers would even spy on celebrities’ dildo purchases, the representative said.
“Everybody, everybody did it,” a former customer service manager at Amazon told Wired. (RELATED: Lawmakers Say Amazon ‘Misled’ And ‘May Have Lied’ To Congress)
When reached for comment, an Amazon spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the practice was not widespread.
“We have strict policies around appropriate access to customer data and require all Customer Service representatives to complete training and certify compliance with those policies,” the spokesperson said, adding, “we strongly reject the notion that abuse of these privileges is ‘common.’”
The spokesperson also said the company prioritized removing employees’ access to private user information.
“The company has invested and continues to invest in technology tools and procedures that limit access to only the data that is critical to complete a particular assignment,” the spokesperson told the DCNF. “We investigate any complaints of violations and take appropriate action.”
The investigation also uncovered a host of other privacy and data security issues, such as details surrounding a breach of Amazon’s Whole Foods corporate network that compromised customers’ credit card information. The report found that the hackers penetrated Whole Foods’ system so effectively that employees had to use private emails to resolve the matter as the hackers were able to access their communications.
The breach resulted in the firing of Amazon’s vice president of information security Gary Gagnon, throwing the company’s cyber defense program into turmoil.
“We went back to ‘Lord of the Flies,’” a former Amazon security manager told Wired. “It was just a shit show.”
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