Wednesday November 13, 2019
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Amazon is Being Sued for Recording Children’s Voices with Alexa

The complaint claims that children cannot consent to be recorded

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The woman has alleged the e-commerce giant for illegally recording children. Flickr

In yet another lawsuit, Amazon has been sued by a Massachusetts woman, who on behalf of her 10-year-old daughter and children from eight other states, is seeking class-action status to sue the e-commerce giant.

Filed in a Federal court in Seattle, the lawsuit alleges Amazon of saving ‘voice prints’ of millions of children by unlawfully recording their conversations around Alexa-enabled smart devices, Vox news reported on Friday.

The woman has alleged the e-commerce giant for illegally recording children and adding them to “a massive database of billions of voice recordings containing the private details of millions of Americans”.

The complaint claims that children cannot consent to be recorded and do not comprehend the “potentially invasive uses of big data by a company the size of Amazon” and that they “use Alexa without any understanding or warning that Amazon is recording and voice-printing them”, the report said.

Lawsuit, Amazon, Alexa
The lawsuit alleges Amazon of saving ‘voice prints’ of millions of children by unlawfully recording their conversations around Alexa-enabled smart devices. Pixabay

The complainant says she bought an Alexa Echo Dot device in 2018 and was not given reason to believe that her child would be recorded.

“Customers set up their Echo devices and we give them easy-to-use tools to manage them, including the ability to review and delete the voice recordings associated with their account,” the report quoted an Amazon spokesperson as saying.

The spokesperson also highlighted a company blog-post that discusses ‘Amazon FreeTime’ — a dedicated service launched in 2012 to help parents manage the ways their kids interact with technology, including limiting screen time.

However, this is not the first time that the e-commerce giant was accused of violating kids’ privacy with Alexa.

Earlier in May, US Senators and a group of 19 consumer and public health advocates 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.

Fighting privacy concerns and data collection suspicions, later in May, Amazon added support for new voice commands to let users ask Alexa to delete previous voice recordings.

To ensure security and privacy of users, the company is also launching ‘Alexa Privacy Hub’ which is supposed to offer an easy way to learn how Alexa works and find privacy controls.

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Things You Need to Consider before Filing a Lawsuit

Here are a few things you need to consider before filing a lawsuit

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Here are four things you need to keep in mind before filing a lawsuit. Pixabay

No one wants to end up in a courtroom, but sometimes you don’t have any other choice. If you feel that you have been wronged in some way or you have a dispute that you cannot settle on your own, then you may have no choice but to file a lawsuit. This is a big decision and not something you should enter into lightly. It is important that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into.

Here are four things you need to know before you file a lawsuit

Do You Have a Case?

Obviously, it is a good idea to establish whether you actually have a winnable case or not long before you enter a courtroom. You don’t want to sink lots of time and money into a case that’s going nowhere. Most attorneys will be happy to offer you a free consultation to decide whether it is worth hiring the services or not. So, it is worth arranging a meeting with an attorney near you.

What Do You Want Out of the Process?

What do you want to get out of the process? Do you want to get some financial compensation? Or are you only looking to get an acknowledgment of wrongdoing and an apology? There is a multitude of different reasons that people file lawsuits, it is important to understand and exactly what it is that you want out of the process from the beginning. Things aren’t necessarily going to go your way, and it is important that you can manage your expectations from the beginning. You don’t want to end up disappointed when you realize that the outcome you were expecting is not going to materialize.

If or when you sit down with a lawyer, it is important that you discuss with them what it is that you are hoping to get out of the case. They will be able to tell you whether your expectations are realistic or not, and if necessary, they can help you adjust them to something more realistic.

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It is better to set up the case out of court and save time and money before filing a lawsuit. Pixabay

Have You Tried to Settle the Case Without Litigation?

In some cases, it is better to set up the case out of court and save yourself some time and money. The time and money that you spend fighting a court case is time and money that you’ll never ever be able to get back. Of course, some things can only be settled in a courtroom, and in some cases, the remedy that you’re pursuing can only be awarded to you by a court. However, if there is a possibility of reaching a settlement or agreement with the subject of your lawsuit this is an avenue that you should explore.

Do You Know What Kind of Lawyer You Need?

Different fields of the law will be handled by different lawyers, you need to find one that has the appropriate specialty to take on your case. You need a lawyer that not only has experience in the area of law most relevant to your case, but also one that has experience arguing cases in the state where your case will be heard. If at all possible, you should look for someone with even more localized experience than this.

For example, if you were pursuing a wrongful death suit in Philadelphia, you would consult a Philadelphia wrongful death attorney, not one based elsewhere in Pennsylvania.

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Having the right attorney on your side will ensure that everything that follows progresses as smoothly and easily as possible. The last thing you want when you are halfway through the litigation process is an unexpected surprise that derails your entire case. Working with an experienced attorney is the best way of avoiding this.

If you are sure that a lawsuit is the way to go, then it is important that you enter the process with both eyes open. It is always worth speaking to an attorney beforehand, as most will offer you a free consultation.