Saturday December 14, 2019
Home Lead Story Amazon Accuse...

Amazon Accused of Violating Kids’ Privacy with Alexa

There has been no official statement from FTC on the subject as yet

0
//
Amazon, online retailer, Drones
The Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares is seen during a 3-day walkout to demand better wages and working conditions, on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. VOA

US Senators and a group of 19 consumer and public health advocates have accused Amazon for recording and saving conversations that take place around its smart speakers, urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate into the case.

The complaint alleges Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition smart speaker of being in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), CNN reported late on Thursday.

Launched last year, the device features a kid-friendly version of Alexa which plays music, reads stories and answers questions to kids.

As part of the complaint, Senators Edward J. Markey, Richard Blumenthal, Dick Durbin and Josh Hawley claim that “Amazon does not comply with COPPA’s requirement of parental consent and does not allow parents to adequately delete their children’s information from the device”.

Children welfare organisations like the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Centre for Digital Democracy have also asked the FTC to look into the matter.

Reacting to the allegations, the e-commerce giant said it not only worked closely with organisations like the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) while developing Echo Dot Kids Edition but also followed industry’s best practices for securing verifiable parental consent.

Amazon Alexa. Flickr
Amazon Alexa. Flickr

“Specific to Echo Dot Kids Edition and FreeTime on Alexa, we want you to know that Kid skills in Amazon FreeTime do not collect personal information and we require verifiable parental consent from all customers before enabling FreeTime on Alexa,” the company wrote in a blog post.

Launched seven years ago, Amazon FreeTime service helps parents manage the ways their kids interact with technology, including limiting screen time.

The post also highlighted that the company allows parents to review and delete any voice recordings at any time in the Alexa App or on the company website.

Also Read- Jeff Bezos Unveils New Moon-lander From Blue Origin

“We provide access to our Children’s Privacy Disclosure where parents can visit at any time in the Alexa App or on our website. Children’s privacy is important to Amazon,” the post noted.

There has been no official statement from FTC on the subject as yet.

In May 2018, Senetor Markey and then-Congressman Joe Barton sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with questions about the product asking whether or not Amazon maintains data profile of each child and how long their recordings and information are kept. (IANS)

Next Story

Traders Protest Government Collusion with Amazon, Flipkart: Report

On December 27, traders in various cities will go on a day-long token hunger strike, it added

0
Amazon
Amazon Logo is seen at the company logistic center in Lauwin-Planquin, France.

Angry at the reported move of the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) to join hands with Amazon and Flipkart for on boarding of traders on their e-commerce portals, a large number of traders on Thursday staged a demonstration at Jantar Mantar here.

Calling upon Union MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari to reject any such proposed move, traders body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said it will not accept any kind of government “collusion” with Amazon and Flipkart.

“If the Ministry is so serious, let it create an independent e commerce portal and the traders of the country will support such initiative and will do every bit of it to onboard seven crore traders of the country on such e commerce portal,” CAIT said in a statement.

The MSME Ministry earlier deferred its decision to create a government-owned e-commerce portal for MSME entities.

In a letter to Gadkari on December 9, CAIT drew attention to reports of the ministry initiating a move to join hands with e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart.

The traders were also protesting against the alleged violation of the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy by Amazon and Flipkart and said that “it is nothing but a deep rooted conspiracy of Amazon and Flipkart to enter into crony capitalism under the garb of bringing foreign investment which is being used for cash burning in maintaining predatory pricing and deep discounting, controlling inventory, having preferential seller system and exclusivity of products”.

Apart from New Delhi, business leaders from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, among others, participated in the demonstration, CAIT said.

Flipkart Buys Back Shares Worth $350 mn.
New e-commerce norms to impact e-tailers: Flipkart. IANS

The traders of All India Mobile Retailers Association and All India Consumer Products Distributors’ Federation also attended the demonstration in large numbers, it added.

CAIT National President B.C. Bhartia and Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal alleged that Flipkart and Amazon are leading losses of thousands of crores of rupees in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenue by artificially lowering the prices and by showing huge losses in their business.

CAIT has already urged Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to conduct an investigation into these charges of tax avoidance.

The trade body has also urged Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal to conduct an investigation into whether there is any violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) or other concerning laws by the e-commerce players.

Also Read: Development of Alzheimer’s Disease Not Totally Linked to Genetics: Study

Announcing the next phase of the national movement against Amazon and Flipkart, Bhartia and Khandelwal said that the families of traders across the country will protest on December 24.

A postcard campaign will be launched across the country from December 15, under which traders will send postcards to leaders including the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Finance Minister, Commerce Minister and the Chief Ministers of all the states urging for action against these two companies, CAIT said.

On December 27, traders in various cities will go on a day-long token hunger strike, it added. (IANS)