The US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that Amazon has agreed to pay a $25 million fine to settle alleged violations of children’s privacy laws related to the company’s Alexa voice assistant service.
Amazon has been offering Alexa voice-enabled products and services for children under 13 since May 2018.
In May 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) sued Amazonaccusing the company of violating children’s privacy laws, including the FTC Act, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the COPPA Rule.
The charges came after Amazon failed to respond to requests from parents to delete their children’s voice recordings and geolocation information.
According to complaintAmazon “failed for a long time to honor parents’ requests to delete their children’s voice recordings by continuing to retain transcripts of those recordings and failing to disclose that it was doing so, also in violation of COPPA.”
Additionally, the company should have deleted users’ voice information and geolocation data upon request, but instead opted to retain that information for potential use.
Ring subsidiary also faces $5 million fine
Amazon is also facing a $5 million fine for breaching privacy associated with its Ring video doorbell service.
The fine stems from the alleged actions of employees of Amazon’s Ring home security camera subsidiary, who are accused of engaging in unlawful surveillance of customers and failing to sufficiently prevent hackers from taking control of users’ cameras.
“While we disagree with the FTC’s assertions regarding Alexa and Ring, and deny breaking the law, these regulations have put these issues behind us,” Amazon said. says BleepingComputer after the FTC filed the lawsuit in May.
“As part of the settlement, we have agreed to make a small change to our already strong practices and to delete profiles of children who have been inactive for more than 18 months, unless a parent or guardian decides to keep them.”
In March 2022, the FTC slapped Fortnite maker Epic Games with a $245 million fine (down from a proposed penalty of $520 million) For violate children’s privacy laws and using deceptive tactics, known as dark schemes, to manipulate millions into making unwitting in-game purchases.
More recently, Microsoft has also reached an agreement to pay a fine of 20 million dollars and update its child data privacy protocols.
This resolution came in settlement of charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) related to Microsoft’s Xbox Live service.