Lawmakers and public interest groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids, arguing that the smart device is violating children’s privacy by collecting and storing their data without meaningful control for parents.
The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), the Center for Digital Democracy and 17 other privacy groups filed a complaint with the FTC on Thursday saying that Amazon is violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
“Amazon markets Echo Dot Kids as a device to educate and entertain kids, but the real purpose is to amass a treasure trove of sensitive data that it refuses to relinquish even when directed to by parents,” Josh Golin, CCFC’s executive director, said in a statement.
“COPPA makes clear that parents are the ones with the final say about what happens to their children’s data, not Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by The American Petroleum Institute — Climate change turning US into coffee country Foundations pledge billion in record funding for biodiversity UN secretary-general blasts space tourism MORE. The FTC must hold Amazon accountable for blatantly violating children’s privacy law and putting kids at risk.”
Asked for comment by The Hill, an Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement, “FreeTime on Alexa and Echo Dot Kids Edition are compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)."
It also requires commercial websites, mobile apps and services that collect information about people over the internet to obtain parental consent before compiling data about children.
According to the groups’ complaint, Amazon’s process of obtaining parental consent falls short of COPPA’s requirements.
“It merely requires someone to input a credit or debit card number and a CVV security code,” the complaint reads. “It does not verify that the person ‘consenting’ is the child’s parent as required by COPPA.”
— Zack Budryk contributed to this report, which was updated at 9:09 p.m.