Amazon is getting sued over Alexa recordings of children

  • Amazon is facing a class-action lawsuit in the United States over its Alexa voice assistant recording and storing voice data on children without consent.

    Hundreds of millions of smart assistant devices have now been sold to people around the world, including smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo. The device comes with the Alexa voice assistant that users can issue commands to verbally, but to do that effectively it needs some pretty powerful voice recognition tech.

    Rather than trying to cram all that tech into a tiny speaker, the Echo and similar smart speakers just record voice clips and send them out to a server via the internet for analysis. It's only supposed to do this when the user says the wake word, such as "Alexa" to let the system know it's being given a command or asked a question, but it can sometimes mis-hear a conversation and activate for no reason.

    People were understandably worried earlier this year when it emerged that not only does Amazon store these voice chips on you for a long time on its servers but they also frequently allow human operators to listen to voice clips to help train the system's voice recognition system. This is particularly worrying as the device can activate unexpectedly and record private conversations you would rather not be listened to.

    The lawsuit against Amazon alleges that the company failed to comply with the privacy laws in several US states by collecting recording clips and persistent voice print data on minors who are too young to give their consente. Amazon claims that the parents gave consent for their children in these cases, but some of the lawsuit participants say they were never asked permission at any stage when using the device

    Source: BBC News

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