Amazon Echo voice data used to target ads
Occurred: April 2022
By creating several personas to interact with Alexa and studying the results of their interactions with Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant, University of Washington, UC Davis, UC Irvine, and Northeastern University researchers concluded that Amazon and third parties collect users' data from their interactions with Alexa and share it with 41 advertising partners.
The researchers also discovered that interactions with smart speakers generated far higher - up to 30 times - auction bids from advertisers than those without Amazon Echo speaker data.
Alexa users later filed lawsuits against Amazon for targeting them with ads using their personal voice recording interactions with Alexa without their consent, and that Amazon had been engaging in misleading and unfair conduct.
Sector: Business/professional services
Purpose: Provide information, services
Technology: NLP/text analysis; Natural language understanding (NLU); Speech recognition
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Privacy
Published: September 2023