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Alexa and COPPA

Jun 6, 2023

Protecting kids is paramount

Amazon is forking over a whopping $25 million in civil penalties to settle federal charges. Why? Well, they got caught violating the Federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) busted Amazon for collecting sensitive data from kids—stuff like their exact locations and voice recordings. They held onto that info for their own business purposes. And that's a big-time no-no according to COPPA.

Even when parents specifically asked Amazon to delete their children's conversations with Alexa those transcripts were still hanging around in Amazon's databases. 

COPPA clearly states that online services targeting kids under thirteen need parental consent before collecting personal data. And parents should have the power to delete their children's data. But Amazon seemed to miss the memo on that one.

The FTC's Samuel Levine, the head honcho of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, didn't hold back. He called out Amazon for misleading parents, hoarding those recordings indefinitely, and ignoring deletion requests. Levine said they flat-out violated the children's online privacy law and put profits over protection. 

Amazon denies any wrongdoing. They claim they built Alexa with privacy protections and customer control. They even say they worked hand in hand with the FTC before bringing Alexa to their children's content service. 

Stay tuned as this case heads to a federal court for approval.

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