There's trouble brewing at Amazon, although details are sketchy about how much trouble there might be.
Recently, the company sent the following message to some of its customers:
"Hello, 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's no need for you to change your password or take any other action."
That's it. At this point, that's all the information the company has released about the matter, and we'd love to know more.
How many users were impacted? Unfortunately, the only way to know if your email address was exposed is if you received the email we referenced above.
What caused the technical error? How likely is it to occur again? What steps were taken to ensure that it won't occur again? Was the "technical error" in any way related to the actions of a third party, or was it entirely an internal issue? Either way, what exactly was the issue?
Public companies owe the public an explanation, and in cases like these, more information and full disclosure is always better than silence. Amazon has been in the game long enough to know this, which is why we find their silence about the matter to be an even mix of frustrating, disappointing and infuriating.
The bottom line is: Something happened. User email addresses were exposed, and although repeated attempts have been made to pry more information out of Amazon, no further details have been forthcoming. File this one away under 'How Not to Handle An Issue Like This At Your Company.'
We understand that Amazon is likely very busy due to the Holiday Shopping season, but honestly, we expected more from one of the biggest sites on the internet.