Children’s privacy violations cost Amazon $25 million

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Child Privacy Violations Cost Amazon

Amazon will pay $25 million (£20 million) to settle claims that its Alexa voice assistant violated children’s privacy rights.

After being accused of not deleting Alexa recordings when parents asked, the company decided to pay the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

It was found that he had kept secret information for years.

Amazon’s doorbell camera unit, Ring, will also have to pay because the workers had full access to customer information.

A document filed in federal court in the District of Columbia says Ring will pay $5.8 million to the government.

According to the FTC’s complaint about Alexa, Amazon “prominently and repeatedly assured its users, including parents, that they could delete voice recordings collected” by the system.

But the company did not do this. Instead, the lawsuit says, it saved data for years and illegally used it to help improve its Alexa algorithm.

Samuel Levine, head of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement that Amazon “misled parents, kept children’s recordings forever, and ignored parental requests to delete them.”

He also said the company “gave up privacy for profit.”

Similarly, the FTC said Amazon’s 2018 purchase of Ring gave “thousands of employees and contractors” access to recordings of customers’ private spaces.

The group said they could view and download customers’ private video data for their own use.

In a response to the BBC, Amazon said: “Ring quickly fixed the problems on its own years ago, long before the FTC began its investigation.”

But the complaint says an employee viewed thousands of videos belonging to Ring users and “surveilled intimate spaces in their homes, such as their bathrooms or bedrooms.”

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He said the worker was not detained until a co-worker saw what they were doing.

“Ring’s lack of concern for privacy and security puts customers at risk of being spied on and harassed,” Levine said. “The FTC’s order makes it clear that putting profit before privacy is not profitable.”

Amazon said: “We disagree with the FTC’s claims about Alexa and Ring, and we don’t believe we have broken the law, but these settlements address these issues.”

The company also said it will continue to come up with new ways to protect customer privacy.

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Categories: Technology

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