Amazon accused of illegally collecting data on kids

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Research into Amazon's Echo Dot Kids Edition, carried out by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Institute for Public Representation (IPR) at Georgetown Law, found "blatant violations" of children's privacy laws and the illegal collection of their data.

Four US senators have co-signed a letter asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.

The findings prompted four USA senators to ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Amazon is violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

It is unclear if the FTC will take up the complaint, but experts say the agency has been ramping up enforcement of children's privacy rules lately.

COPPA is meant to protect the privacy of children 12 and younger.

Parent Samantha Moses says the complaint is troubling.

Amazon said in a statement that its Echo Dot Kids Edition is compliant with COPPA.

Here's how the FTC defines COPPA: "COPPA imposes certain requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age, and on operators of other websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information online from a child under 13 years of age".

Amazon keeps children's personal information longer than reasonably necessary.

Another big problem includes Amazon's failure to fully disclose what information the device can collect from the child and how it's used, the groups claim. Parents also must have a way to access personal and potentially sensitive information that's been stored on the devices, and delete it. It tells parents to read the privacy policy of each kid skill, but the vast majority did not provide individual privacy policies. They also raised concern over how the data is shared with third parties, which are allegedly not subject to Amazon's privacy policies.

The groups also released a video that shows a test of the device's "remember" feature.

"Voice recognition technology and artificial intelligence tools such as the Echo Dot Kids Edition have the potential to enrich and educate kids, including through music and storytelling".

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