Amazon Settles $30m Privacy Violation Case: Alexa and Ring Privacy Breaches Unveiled
Amazon has agreed to pay a $25 million (£20 million) settlement to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for violating children’s privacy rights with its Alexa voice assistant. The company was accused of failing to delete Alexa recordings at the request of parents and retaining sensitive data for years.
Additionally, Amazon’s doorbell camera unit Ring will pay $5.8 million (£4.6 million) for providing employees with unrestricted access to customers’ data.
According to the FTC complaint, Amazon assured users, including parents, that they could delete voice recordings collected by Alexa. However, the company failed to do so, using the data unlawfully to improve its Alexa algorithm.
Ring, which was acquired by Amazon in 2018, allowed thousands of employees and contractors to watch recordings of customers’ private spaces. The FTC found that employees had accessed and downloaded sensitive video data for their personal use.
The FTC’s Director of Consumer Protection accused Amazon of misleading parents, keeping children’s recordings indefinitely, and disregarding deletion requests. The company was accused of prioritizing profits over privacy.
Amazon responded by stating that Ring had already addressed the issues in question prior to the FTC’s inquiry. However, the FTC complaint revealed instances where an employee viewed intimate video recordings of female Ring camera users before being stopped by a colleague.
The FTC’s order sends a clear message that prioritizing profit over privacy is unacceptable. Amazon expressed disagreement with the FTC’s claims but affirmed its commitment to developing additional privacy features.
These privacy violations highlight the importance of safeguarding user data and the need for technology companies to balance convenience with privacy protection.