Amazon has come under fire again for violation of consumer’s privacy. This time, it is your children whose privacy may be at risk. The Echo Dot Kids Edition was designed for children who could recite personal details that parents were unable to delete. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found Amazon to be in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
COPPA is the 1998 law that places limits on what information companies can collect from children without parental consent. A partnership of 19 children’s advocacy agencies agree that since “vast amounts of sensitive, personal information [are collected] from children under 13,” without parental consent, the product violates COPPA.
Amazon verifies a user’s identity with credit or debit card information linked to a driver’s license or social security number. However, the site also accepts prepaid gift and merchant cards that cannot be verified. Amazon is aware of the bug. “There is a bug in the ‘Remember This’ feature for FreeTime on Alexa, and we are working on a fix that should start rolling out soon.”
The breach caught the attention of a bipartisan group of senators. Ed Markey (D-MA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Josh Hawley (R-MO) drafted a letter to the FTC requesting an investigation into Amazon’s potential violations of COPPA. Senator Markey explains this request is just a first step in the right direction towards oversight. “Children are a uniquely vulnerable population. We urge the Commission to take all necessary steps to ensure their privacy.”
Amazon fixed the bug and parents can delete sensitive information using the FreeTime feature in the Alexa app, as expected. The lawsuits are still pending.
Read the full complaint here.
Do you have any thoughts on Amazon’s Echo Dot for Kids or any of their other speaker products? Contact us for more information! Feel free to shoot us an email to Outreach@ConsiderTheConsumer.com, find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or even connect with us directly on our website!
About the Author: Aisha K. Staggers is a writer, lecturer, and co-host and producer of “All Our Own” radio show and podcast and co-host of “Staggers State of Things” on the Dr. Vibe Show. Her work has been featured on MTV News, HuffPost, Blavity, Atlanta Blackstar, For Harriet, New York Review of Books and a host of other first-run publications and syndicated outlets. Find her on Twitter @AishaStaggers. For more of her work, check out her page here!
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