Amazon's Echo Dot Kids violates privacy regulations, child advocates say

Daniel Fowler
May 12, 2019

That child's parent followed Amazon's process for requesting that information be deleted but later found the device still remembered the information. The new findings come as a major privacy concern for the Amazon smart speaker users.

A coalition of groups on Thursday, May 9, 2019, is planning to ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Amazon is holding onto children's voice recordings and personal information longer than it should. However, the complaint argues that by allowing children to easily bypass the parental consent needed to have their data collected, the device violates the COPPA.

"We provide access to our Children's Privacy Disclosure where parents can visit at any time in the Alexa App or on our website".

They alleged that the company's Echo Dot Kids, a family-friendly edition of its famous Echo Dot, doesn't work properly, which may ultimately result in data of kids under 13 heading over to Amazon, illegally.

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Amazon does not disclose which "kid skills"-developed by third parties-collect child personal information or what they collect". She said the FTC provides an exemption that enables a business to collect a child's voice recording without parental consent, but that's only for a temporary and specific goal - such as to perform an online search or fulfill a verbal command.

As ZDNet's sister site CNET reports, although Amazon lets users delete voice recordings, the information lives on in Amazon's server as a text transcript and there's no option to delete these. It tells parents to read the privacy policy of each kid skill (impermissible under COPPA).

"Amazon markets Echo Dot Kids as a device to educate and entertain kids, but the real goal is to amass a treasure trove of sensitive data that it refuses to relinquish even when directed to by parents", CCFC's executive director, Josh Golin said. The letter was cosigned by senators Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri and Richard Durbin, A Democrat from IL. FreeTime is software that parents can use to manage how their kids use the Echo Dot and also features other parent-related tools.

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