Potential children’s privacy violations alleged after experts review Amazon’s Smart Speaker for Children
Washington (May 9, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, along with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) today called on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to launch an investigation into new evidence of Amazon violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) with its Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition, a digital assistant targeted to children. The Echo Dot Kids Edition captures not only the voice recordings of the children who speak to it, but also vast amounts of their personal information. In their letter, the Senators highlight evidence that Amazon’s product does not meet COPPA’s notice standard, fails to comply with the Act’s parental consent requirement, and does not effectively allow parents to delete their children’s private information.
“Voice recognition technology and artificial intelligence tools such as the Echo Dot Kids Edition have the potential to enrich and educate kids, including through music and storytelling. But these devices also present significant privacy concerns,” write the Senators in the letter to all five FTC Commissioners.“Children are a uniquely vulnerable population. We urge the Commission to take all necessary steps to ensure their privacy as ‘Internet of Things’ devices targeting young consumers come to market, including promptly initiating an investigation into the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition’s compliance with COPPA.”
A copy of the Senators’ letter can be found HERE.
The Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA), co-authored by Senator Markey, is the law that covers children age 12 and younger and requires operators of commercial websites and online services directed to children 12 and younger to abide by various privacy safeguards as they collect, use, or disclose personal information about kids.