Lawmakers express concerns about impact of the device on children’s development


Washington (May 11, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Joe Barton (TX-06), co-founders of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, today sent a letter to Amazon with a series of questions about the company’s new Echo Dot Kids Edition, a digital assistant targeted to children ages five to twelve that began shipping this week. The device works in concert with Amazon’s FreeTime Unlimited subscription service, which includes thousands of children’s content titles. In their letter, the lawmakers ask Amazon about how the device records and stores child users’ voice interactions with the product, what third parties will have access to data collected on child users, what steps Amazon has taken to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA), and what mechanisms are in place to understand the device’s impact on children’s development. 


“While these types of artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology offer potentially new education and entertainment opportunities, Americans’ privacy, particularly children’s privacy, must be paramount,” write Senator Markey and Congressman Barton in the letter to Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos. 


A copy of the letter to Amazon can be found HERE.


Last year, Senator Markey and Congressman Barton wrote a letter to Mattel expressing concerns about the company’s “Aristotle” product, a Wi-Fi enabled talking device with audio and visual monitoring for children. Mattel subsequently canceled the product.