Amazon has agreed to pay a $25 million settlement to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegations of violating children’s privacy through Alexa. The company is accused of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by retaining sensitive information about children, such as their exact location and voice recordings, for several years.
COPPA requires online services directed to children under the age of 13 to obtain parental consent before collecting the child’s personal information. The law also allows parents to request that their child’s data be erased.
The company had initially promised to delete voice data on demand and restrict access to it. However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that Amazon retained children’s recordings and transcripts indefinitely until September 2019. In addition, the FTC found that Amazon failed to delete transcripts for a significant period of time and still retained voice information and geolocation data.
Regulators in the complaint said the company had violated the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by indefinitely retaining young people’s Alexa voice recordings and using the data for business purposes, such as training the algorithm to understand children.
Amazon has responded to the FTC’s claims by saying it “disagrees” and has decided to make a decision to move forward.
That’s what keeps the company going Amazon kids was created with COPPA regulations in mind and that parents have easy methods to remove recordings and transcripts from the Internet. In addition, the company has committed to deleting inactive child profiles after 18 months to address concerns from the FTC about data retention.
Under the proposed settlement agreement, Amazon must remove children’s voice recordings, exact location data, and inactive Alexa accounts. The agreement also prevents Amazon from providing false information about how it manages voice recordings, location data and data belonging to children.
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