To settle claims that its Alexa voice assistant violated children’s privacy rights, Amazon will pay $25 million (£20 million).
The organization consented to pay the US Government Exchange Commission (FTC) after it was blamed for neglecting to erase Alexa accounts in line with guardians.
Having saved hold of touchy information for quite a long time was found.
Ring, an Amazon doorbell camera, will also pay out after employees were granted unrestricted access to customer data.
According to a filing in the District of Columbia’s federal court, Ring will pay the authorities $5.8 million.
“Prominently and repeatedly assured its users, including parents, that they could delete voice recordings collected,” according to the FTC complaint regarding Alexa.
However, according to the complaint, the company did not do this and instead illegally used the data to help improve its Alexa algorithm.
The director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Samuel Levine, issued a statement in which he claimed that Amazon “misled parents, kept children’s recordings indefinitely, and flouted parents’ deletion requests.”
The organization “forfeited protection for benefits”, he added.
In a similar vein, according to the FTC, Amazon’s acquisition of Ring in 2018 enabled “thousands of employees and contractors” to view recordings of customer private spaces.
They had the option to see and download clients’ delicate video information for their own motivations, the body said.
Amazon told the BBC in a proclamation that “Ring quickly resolved the main things on its own quite a while back, a long time before the FTC started its request”.
However, one employee was accused of viewing thousands of video recordings belonging to female Ring camera users that “surveilled intimate spaces in their homes such as their bathrooms or bedrooms,” according to the complaint.
According to the report, the employee was only stopped when a coworker noticed their actions.
Mr. Levine stated, “Ring’s disregard for privacy and security exposed consumers to harassment and spying.” The order issued by the FTC makes it abundantly clear that privacy over profit does not pay.”
Amazon stated: While we deny breaking the law and disagree with the FTC’s claims regarding Alexa and Ring, these settlements put these matters behind us.”
In addition, the business stated that it would continue to develop additional privacy features on behalf of customers.
Alexa and Ring privacy violations
However, it is worth noting that both Alexa and Ring, which are owned by Amazon, have faced privacy concerns and controversies in the past. These concerns primarily revolve around the collection and storage of user data, as well as the potential for unauthorized access to that data.
In the case of Alexa, the voice-activated assistant, there have been instances where Alexa devices have mistakenly recorded conversations and sent them to unintended recipients. Amazon has taken steps to address these issues and improve the privacy settings of its devices.
Ring, the home security and doorbell camera company, has also faced criticism regarding the handling of user data. There have been reports of unauthorized access to Ring cameras, instances where employees accessed customer video feeds without authorization, and concerns over data sharing with third-party entities.
Both Amazon and Ring have made efforts to enhance user privacy and security. They have introduced features such as two-factor authentication, improved encryption, and more granular privacy settings to address the concerns raised by users and privacy advocates.
It’s essential to stay informed about the latest news and updates regarding privacy concerns and any actions taken by the companies involved. I recommend referring to reputable news sources or official statements from Amazon or Ring for the most up-to-date information on privacy-related matters concerning these products and services.