Amazon Accused Of Illegally Harvesting Kids’ Data Via Alexa-Powered Smart Speakers

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The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is planning to sue tech ginat Amazon over allegations that the company illegally collected and used children’s data via its Alexa-powered smart speakers, without parental consent.

Citing individuals familiar with the issue, Politico and Bloomberg have both reported that the FTC recommended filing a complaint against Amazon on the basis that the collection of data from children under age 13 violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA).

The Defender reports: The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) may file the lawsuit on the FTC’s behalf as early as next month, Bloomberg reported.

The FTC is obligated to first refer its complaint to the DOJ’s civil division, which will then have 45 days to bring a case, according to Politico. If the DOJ declines to sue, the FTC can then opt to proceed on its own.

This potential lawsuit comes four years after several advocacy organizations, including the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (now known as Fairplay) and the Center for Digital Democracy, filed a complaint with the FTC against Amazon, citing two products: the Echo Dot Kids Edition and FreeTime (since rebranded Kids+).

The news also comes amid a push by the FTC to target Big Tech firms for a range of alleged anti-competitive practices.

According to the 2019 complaint, Amazon held onto voice recordings indefinitely and also kept children’s personal data — even after users attempted to delete it.

The groups also claimed Amazon did not properly inform parents regarding the exact information it collected from children, did not include a privacy policy and did not verify that it had parental permission to collect data.

Following the submission of the complaint in 2019, Amazon claimed the two products in question were compliant with COPPA, Bloomberg reported.

COPPA penalties are limited to slightly over $50,000 per violation. However, each affected user is legally considered a separate violation, meaning the total fine against Amazon could be significantly higher.

FTC Chair Lina Khan, in remarks made last week, said existing law “prohibits firms from conditioning access to certain services on endless collection of data,” adding that the law includes “substantive limitations on when firms can be collecting data.”

7 Comments

  1. Pugs arse They force everyone to agree to the fascists information harvesting and the government makes them share it all with them m

  2. Scam-azon was also found guilty of turning over Ring door bell video to police without consent or knowledge of homeowners.

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