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“Alexa, delete everything”: US fines Amazon for violating children’s privacy law

“Alexa, delete everything”: US fines Amazon for violating children’s privacy law

Amazon agreed Wednesday to pay a $25 million civil penalty to resolve allegations by the Federal Trade Commission of USA (FTC) of having violated a children’s privacy law and deceiving parents by keeping the voice and location data of minors recorded by its popular voice assistant for years Alexa.

Separately, the company has agreed to pay $5.8 million in refunds to customers for alleged privacy violations related to its Ring camera doorbell.

The Alexa-related action orders Amazon to review its data removal practices and impose stricter and more transparent privacy measures. It also forces the tech giant to delete certain data collected by its internet-connected digital assistant, which people use for everything from checking the weather to playing games and listening to music.

“Amazon’s record of misleading parents, keeping children’s recordings indefinitely, and ignoring parental requests for deletion violated the COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) and sacrificed privacy for profit.”wrote Samuel Levine, the FTC’s head of consumer protection, in a statement. The 1998 law is designed to protect children from harm online.

The commissioner of the FTC, Alvaro Bedoya, said in a statement that “When parents asked Amazon to remove their child’s Alexa voice data, the company didn’t remove all of it.”

The agency ordered the company to delete inactive child accounts and certain voice and geolocation data.

Amazon kept the children’s data in order to refine its voice recognition algorithm, the artificial intelligence behind Alexa, which powers its Echo speakers and other equipment, according to Bedoya.

Source: AP

Source: Gestion

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