Amazon Slapped With $25 Million Fine Over Poor Handling Of Children’s Data Through Alexa (Updated)

Jeff Bezos is not going to be a happy man after Amazon received a heavy fine worth a staggering $25 million for poor handling of data belonging to minors.

The allegations stem from the fact that the company’s two famous devices- Alexa and Echo- did not do well in this regard and are now being penalized for the irresponsible actions of the firm.

It definitely seems like a lot of money to be paid for the mishandling of data of younger audiences but when you come to think of it, the figure is just a mere two-day income belonging to the firm. And that entails its revenue generated through sales.

The FTC and the DOJ confirmed today how they’re uniting and filing a single joint complaint against the tech giant and alleging how the firm failed to allow parents to practice their rights of deletion. Similarly, they continued with the sensitive voice and the data linked to geolocation for so many years while opting to use that for their own benefit.

In the same way, they spoke about how much data was put at risk since it could be assessed by many. The FTC issued a statement on the matter where it says the settlement involving Amazon’s Alexa is a clear wake-up call to other parents in the country and also to those in the AI firm so that it could attain more information.

The law which the tech giant has been alleged of breaking is known as COPPA. It was initially passed by the American Congress and was designed to ensure the rights of all kids online are protected at all times and those working against it would be held liable for consequences.

One FTC Commissioner went on to elaborate further on how other firms including those involved in the world of AI technology could make use of machine learning and that itself could bring about more problems in terms of harvesting more user data.

But the woes and worries of Amazon are not over just yet. It has been blasted with a legal order from the court that mandates how the firm deletes all accounts that have been dormant and are under the ownership of a child. This would entail all kinds of voice recordings and data of their whereabouts and also stop algorithms from storing such information.

Update: Amazon's spokesperson emailed DigitalInformationWorld regarding their stance on the development, by saying that “At Amazon, we take our responsibilities to our customers and their families very seriously. We built Alexa with strong privacy protections and customer controls, designed Amazon Kids to comply with COPPA, and collaborated with the FTC before expanding Amazon Kids to include Alexa. While we disagree with the FTC’s claims and deny violating the law, this settlement puts the matter behind us. As part of the settlement, we agreed to make a small modification to our already strong practices, and will remove child profiles that have been inactive for more than 18 months unless a parent or guardian chooses to keep them.”

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