Amazon Echo Dot Kids illegally records conversations — FTC complaint

Amazon’s kid-friendly Echo Dot is ‘blatant violation’ of child privacy laws, investigation finds

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The Echo Dot Kids Edition is analogous to the online retailer's smart speaker device, with some notable differences that include a kid-friendly version of Alexa and options for parental controls. That child's parent followed Amazon's process for requesting that information be deleted but later found the device still remembered the information.

"We spent months analyzing the Echo Dot Kids and the device's myriad privacy policies and we still don't have a clear picture of what data is collected by Amazon and who has access to it", Angela Campbell, a board member with the Commercial-Free Childhood group, said in a statement.

Amazon fails to clearly explain how to delete information collected about children through Echo Dot Kids Edition.

The advocates also note in the complaint that their testing discovered that "deleting the voice recordings does not delete the transcription of those recordings", and that it is "unduly burdensome for parents" to actually review and delete any of the children's information that has been recorded by the device.

FILE - This Dec. 20, 2017, file photo shows the Amazon Echo Dot stocked on a shelf alongside jars of Garlic Chili Sauce at the Amazon Prime warehouse in NY.

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Four U.S. senators urged the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday to investigate Amazon.com Inc's smart speakers aimed at children, claiming the devices violate a privacy law that protects children. Alexa remembered and repeated the information, despite several attempts by an adult to delete or edit it. Using controls designed for parents, the investigators tried to delete transcripts of those and other conversations. It tells parents to read the privacy policy of each kid skill, but the vast majority did not provide individual privacy policies.

Amazon does not disclose which kid skills (developed by 3rd parties) collect child personal information or what they collect. That led Google and Apple to pull them from their app stores.

Earlier this year, the agency imposed a $5.7 million fine on the popular video sharing app Tik Tok for collecting children's data.

But Fitzpatrick said that, on their face, the new allegations against Amazon appear troubling.

There's a number of issues at play - but the biggest is that Amazon doesn't delete the voice recordings of children by default, and will often recall supposedly deleted data.

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