Amazon under scrutiny over alleged child privacy violations

first_img Shweta Ganjoo New DelhiMay 10, 2019UPDATED: May 13, 2019 17:08 IST HIGHLIGHTSChild rights and privacy advocates have filed a complaint against Amazon with the FTC.The group has alleged that Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition violates children’s privacy protection law.The group has alleged that Amazon retains children’s Alexa recording even when parents delete it.A coalition of child rights and privacy protection advocates have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging the federal agency to investigate Amazon for violating children’s privacy via its smart speaker for kids – the Amazon Echo Dot Kids.In a 96-page long complaint, a coalition of 19 child’s right and privacy advocates led by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), have alleged that Amazon collects sensitive personal information generated during children’s interactions with the Echo Dot Kids and stores it indefinitely violating US’ Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which places certain restrictions on websites and online services that are directed towards children below 13 years of age.The two organisations in their joint investigation also found out that the Seattle headquartered tech giant reportedly retained children’s data even after parents had deleted it. In addition to this, the coalition in its complaint to the FTC has also alleged that Amazon’s parental parental consent mechanism does not verify that the person giving consent for recording conversations with Alexa via the Echo Dot Kids is an adult or more specifically a parent of the child and that the company’s consent mechanism can be “bypassed by a kid with a disposable debit gift card”.Amazon unveiled the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition almost a year back in April 2018. The smart speaker, which is essentially a peppy variant of its old Echo Dot, aside from sporting the features of a standard Echo Dot comes with the FreeTime Unlimited service, which gives access to more than 300 kids audiobooks, kid-friendly radio stations from iHeartRadio Family and third-party Alexa skills from Disney and Nickelodeon among others, and the basic FreeTime service, which blocks certain Alexa featuresand third-party skills. It also allows parents to place a time limit on Alexa usage.advertisement”Amazon markets Echo Dot Kids as a device to educate and entertain kids, but the real purpose is to amass a treasure trove of sensitive data that it refuses to relinquish even when directed to by parents,” executive director of CCFC, Josh Golin wrote in a statement.Amazon on its part has denied that its devices – the Amazon Echo Dot Kids in this case – are violating the laws. “FreeTime on Alexa and Echo Dot Kids Edition are compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA),” an Amazon spokesperson told the US-based media channels.Notably, the complaint comes just weeks after an investigative report by Bloomberg detailed that Amazon’s Alexa reviewers have access to users’ exact location and that they can use the coordinates available to them to point out the exact location of an Amazon Echo user’s home. Th report noted that some Amazon employees who review Alexa recordings have access to a tool that displays device information, which includes the location of an Echo device. The report also noted that this information may not be always accurate as Echo devices ask users permission to use their location.ALSO READ: | Amazon’s Alexa team knows where you liveALSO READ: | Not just Alexa, thousands of Amazon workers too are listening to your conversationsALSO READ: | Amazon Echo Show (2018) review: Alexa gets a bigger screenGet real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byShweta Ganjoo Tags :Follow AmazonFollow Amazon AlexaFollow Amazon Echo Dot Amazon under scrutiny over alleged child privacy violationsAmazon on its part has denied the claim that its devices violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.advertisementlast_img read more