Amazon.com Inc.'s Echo Dot Kid digital personal assistant is collecting children’s data without parental consent, privacy advocates are alleging in a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.
The product collects data on kids, including voice recordings, persistent identifiers, and other personal information, in violation of the Children’s Online Primacy Protection Act (COPPA), the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Consumer Federation for America, the Central for Digital Democracy, and other privacy groups alleged in their May 9 complaint.
Amazon also doesn’t disclose whether third party apps are using children’s data, the groups alleged.
Lawmakers are also up in arms over the allegations. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) who wrote COPPA, along with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) sent a letter May 9 urging the FTC to launch a formal investigation into Amazon’s alleged violations of children’s privacy.
An Amazon representative said in response that “FreeTime on Alexa and Echo Dot Kids Edition are compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).” The representative also pointed to the company’s Alexa website.
An FTC representative confirmed the agency received the complaint, but declined further comment.
The COPPA law governs the privacy of data about children under 13 years of age. The FTC has direct authority under the law to fine a company for first-time violations.