Amazon Echo Dot Kids remembers kids' conversations

Occurred: May 2019

A coalition of nineteen privacy groups hafiled a legal complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging that Amazon was holding onto a child’s personal information for too long and violating the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The coalition, led by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), Center for Digital Democracy (CDC), and Georgetown University’s Institute for Public Representation, said Amazon's Echo Dot Kids smart speaker records and collects 'vast amounts of sensitive, personal information from children under 13' without adequate parental consent.

The coalition also discovered that parents are unable to delete certain personal details - including date of birth - using the FreeTime feature on Amazon Alexa mobile app once a child tells the Echo Dot Kids Edition to remember them. 

Amazon responded by saying its Echo Dot Kids Edition was compliant with COPPA. 

CCFC and CDD had issued a May 2018 warning that Echo Dot endangers children’s privacy and threatens their healthy development by encouraging them to spend more time with and form 'faux relationships' with digital devices.

Developer: Amazon

Country: USA

Sector: Consumer goods

Purpose: Provide information, services

Technology: Speech recognition; Natural language understanding (NLU)
Issue: Privacy

Transparency: Governance; Privacy; Marketing

Research, advocacy 🧮