In the spring on 2018, Amazon released the Amazon Echo Dot Kid's Edition, a version of the voice-activated virtual assistant technology with parental controls and other features for children.
However, a little more than a year later, "19 consumer advocate and privacy groups" have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission claiming Amazon is illegally recording children's voices and private information.
The complaint claims that Alexa records kids voices and stores those recordings in its own cloud unless a parent or guardian takes deliberate steps to have them deleted.
The 19 advocacy groups also claim removing the soundbites is a needless difficult process even once parents try to do so.
Experts Say Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition Not Forgetting Personal Information It Hears https://t.co/GdtEfvVhRG— Anel Forrest (@Anel Forrest) 1557456065.0
To find out what information the dot had collected, parents would need to listen to every recording.
Alternately, parents could also contact customer service to have the child's entire profile and recordings deleted, which would result in the dot losing many of its child-friendly features.
The Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition captures voice recordings and vast amounts of personal information on the children… https://t.co/4xyasp3Xk6— Ed Markey (@Ed Markey) 1557426635.0
The complaint speculated at Amazon's motivations for collecting information on children, saying these recordings could provide information on how kids "learn, play, and acquire new information," which could then be used to design new products.
@UPI Take the echo dot away from the kids ... they'll live. Really.— Russell Armor (@Russell Armor) 1557421846.0
@CNN This should not exist— Emil Schwaner🇩🇰 (@Emil Schwaner🇩🇰) 1557433565.0
A spokesperson for Amazon told Business Insider that "the device is compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. She also stressed that Amazon does not collect personal information or share audio recordings."
RT technology: RT BloombergTV: Amazon's Echo Dot Kids devices may not be as kid-friendly as you think. Just how saf… https://t.co/sLQR9Mg28z— Elaine Heng (@Elaine Heng) 1557501644.0
Amazon's Echo products have worried privacy advocates since their debut.
Though the company repeatedly claims the device sometimes makes recordings for internal use only, Alexa has been known to occasionally record people's conversations and send them to friends unexpectedly.
@RT_com https://t.co/hhZBDSqi9t— Angry Abomination (@Angry Abomination) 1557480926.0
What's more, several former Amazon employees spoke about how Amazon employees share recordings amongst each other.
@seattletimes Just one more reason to not own one. Yikes 😬— Jessica Vong (@Jessica Vong) 1557464051.0
@seattletimes Need to regulate tech.— Chimmy 🌹 (@Chimmy 🌹) 1557463034.0
Several Senators are now pushing for the FTC to investigate Amazon's child recordings.
Time will tell how this issue plays out. It's possible, depending on the results of the investigation, that Amazon might be forced to roll back its child recording practices.
@CNN Not gonna lie, the MOMENT I saw "Alexa for kids" I was like "FBI OPEN UP!!!"— PillarMan (@PillarMan) 1557439045.0
@CNN there is no more private life neither for adults nor for kids— amina (@amina) 1557433435.0