Federal Trade Commission: Amazon Didn’t Protect Alexa Users’ or Children’s Privacy
By Space Coast Daily // June 2, 2023
FTC continues to take action against companies that don’t safeguard people’s personal information
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – When a company makes a promise, you expect them to keep their word, right? According to the Federal Trade Commission, Amazon promised to delete children’s personal information and Alexa users’ voice and geolocation information but broke the law instead.
In an announcement today, the FTC and the Department of Justice said Amazon violated children’s privacy law by keeping kids’ Alexa voice recordings forever to feed its voice-related algorithms.
Amazon promised parents they could “manage their content and devices” and delete their children’s voice recordings, but according to the FTC, the company didn’t always fulfill parents’ deletion requests, kept children’s sensitive voice data indefinitely, and put people’s data at risk of harm from unnecessary access.
The FTC says Amazon also failed to fulfill Alexa users’ requests to delete their voice and geolocation information. Instead, Amazon kept using that information for their algorithms.
The proposed order would, among other things, require Amazon to pay $25 million, change its deletion practices, and implement strong privacy safeguards.
This case — like the Ring case — shows that the FTC continues to take action against companies that don’t safeguard people’s personal information, especially when it comes to sensitive biometric data, like voices or videos (as in the Ring case).
Here are some steps to take to protect your family’s personal information:
Learn how to protect your kids’ privacy. As a parent, you have control over the personal information companies collect online from your kids under 13.
Any site attempting to collect personal information from your child has to get your consent, and it has to honor your choices about how that information is used.
Find out if you have the right to tell a company to delete your data. Some state laws give you that right. Learn more at the U.S. State Privacy Legislation Tracker from the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
Check if you can customize your privacy settings. If a device or an app doesn’t need the info it collects, such as your location, turn off that feature. If the device or app does need it, consider limiting access to only when the device or app is in use.
Learn more about protecting your privacy online and on apps at ftc.gov/yourprivacy.