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United States senators want Amazon’s Alexa device for kids investigated by the FTC

12 May 2019

To erase a child's personal information, the parent would have to contact customer support, the investigators found. Deleting a child's profile, they found, would disable the features that made the device appropriate for kids, including parental controls, and end access to an Amazon content subscription service for children.

Children's advocates want the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Amazon over privacy concerns.

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.

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.

They alleged that the company's Echo Dot Kids, a family-friendly edition of its famous Echo Dot, doesn't work properly, which may ultimately result in data of kids under 13 heading over to Amazon, illegally. When we did the same experiment with a regular Echo Dot and standard menus in the Alexa app, we were able to delete the information.

Amazon has been accused of storing data from children through its Echo Dot Kids devices.

Amazon keeps children's personal information longer than reasonably necessary. Using controls designed for parents, the investigators tried to delete transcripts of those and other conversations.

To further prove its point, the CCFC performed a test in which a child told Alexa to "remember" a fake name, social security number, telephone number, address and food allergy.

Amazon does not disclose which kid skills (developed by 3rd parties) collect child personal information or what they collect.

A group of 19 consumer and public health advocates claim children's data is retained even after parents delete voice recordings.

It is unclear if the FTC will take up the complaint, but experts say the agency has been ramping up enforcement of children's privacy rules lately.

"Voice recognition technology and artificial intelligence tools such as the Echo Dot Kids Edition have the potential to enrich and educate kids, including through music and storytelling".

United States senators want Amazon’s Alexa device for kids investigated by the FTC