Some 30,000 Amazon employees could spy on Alexa users: FTC
Amazon has reached a $25 million settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after it was alleged that around 30,000 employees had access to Alexa users’ voice recordings between August 2018 and September 2019. The FTC also accused the company of breaching child privacy regulations and of deceiving parents, as it kept voice and location data from children’s devices for years. As part of the settlement, Amazon will have to delete inactive child accounts, as well as certain voice recordings and geolocation data. The company, which denied breaching the law, will also have to enhance its data deletion practices and impose stricter privacy measures.
What is Alexa?
Alexa is a digital assistant designed by Amazon that allows users to command their devices via voice commands. It is widely used in the company’s Echo smart speaker range.
What did Amazon employees have access to?
Around 30,000 Amazon employees had access to Alexa users’ voice recordings between August 2018 and September 2019, according to allegations made by the US Federal Trade Commission.
What is the COPPA?
The COPPA is the Child Online Privacy Protection Act, a law designed to shield children from online harms.
What is Amazon accused of in relation to the COPPA?
The FTC accused Amazon of violating the COPPA by keeping children’s voice and location data recorded by Alexa for years.
FTC: Around 30,000 Amazon Employees May Have Access to Monitor Alexa Users.
Amazon has agreed to pay $25m to settle allegations by federal regulators that tens of thousands of its employees had access to users’ voice recordings picked up by the Alexa smart device’s speakers. The US Federal Trade Commission claimed in a complaint that 30,000 Amazon staff were able to listen to recordings made between August 2018 and September 2019. The company was alleged to have kept sensitive voice and geolocation data for many years and to have used it for its own purposes, exposing it to risk from unnecessary access. The firm was also accused of violating a child privacy law.