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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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Lawsuit, Amazon, Alexa
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.

Next Story

Amazon’s Music Streaming Service Hits 55 Million Subscribers Globally

Amazon Music Unlimited plan runs $9.99 a month, or $7.99 a month for Prime members who upgrade

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Amazon's
Amazon's music streaming service has grown about 50 per cent in Britain, Germany, Japan, and the US during the past year, and it is also gaining new listeners in countries such as France, Italy, Mexico and Spain. VOA

Amazon’s music streaming service ‘Amazon Music’ has reached 55 million subscribers globally closing in on Apple Music which has over 60 million users.

“Our strategy is unique and, like everything we do at Amazon, starts with our customers. We have always been focused on expanding the marketplace for music streaming by offering music listener’s unparalleled choice because we know that different listeners have different needs,” Steve Boom, VP of Amazon Music said in a statement recently.

“As we continue to lead in our investment in voice with Alexa, and in high-quality audio with Amazon Music HD, we’re excited to bring our customers and the music industry even more innovation in 2020 and beyond,” Steve added.

Amazon’s streaming music service has grown about 50 per cent in Britain, Germany, Japan, and the US during the past year, and it is also gaining new listeners in countries such as France, Italy, Mexico and Spain.

Amazon's
Amazon’s music streaming service ‘Amazon Music’ has reached 55 million subscribers globally closing in on Apple Music which has over 60 million users. Wikimedia Commons

Amazon Music Unlimited plan runs $9.99 a month, or $7.99 a month for Prime members who upgrade.

With the Single device plan, customers can subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited at $3.99 per month to access more than 50 million songs on their Fire TV or Echo device.

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While, the family plan allows six family members to access the service for $14.99 per month, or $149 per year for Prime members. (IANS)