Klobuchar questions Amazon, Alphabet over smart-home devices

Klobuchar questions Amazon, Alphabet over smart-home devices
© Greg Nash

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Democrats urge tech CEOs to combat Spanish disinformation | Amazon fined 6M by EU regulators Democrats urge tech CEOs to combat Spanish disinformation Bill would honor Ginsburg, O'Connor with statues at Capitol MORE (D-Minn.) wants to know more about how Amazon and Alphabet approach interoperability in connection with their smart-home devices and protect the user data that they collect. 

In letters sent to each of the tech giant’s CEOs Wednesday, the chair of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee overseeing antitrust said that testimony by the companies’ attorneys during a hearing last week had left her with worries.

“I am deeply concerned about competition and the future of innovation related to connected home devices,” Klobuchar wrote.

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Klobuchar asked the companies which of their devices will comply with a newly announced industry interoperability standard called “Matter,” which both Amazon and Apple have endorsed.

The letter also asks about how data collected by smart-home devices is handled by each company.

“Your corporate witnesses testified that you value consumer privacy, but I need more details about how your companies use sensitive data collected through connected home devices and digital voice assistants,” the senator wrote.

She also pressed the companies on testimony during last week’s hearing suggesting that they had sold their devices below cost of production in order to secure market position.

Klobuchar is asking for responses by July 2.

“Connected home devices will only become more popular and varied in the coming years,” her letter concludes. “Continued American innovation and leadership in this emerging sector require open, competitive markets.”

The Hill has reached out to both companies for comment.