Alexa, stop tracking my kids’ tech habits! Amazon tools use data to sell more gear to young people, and report claims
- Parents warned about privacy issues with devices including the Echo Dot
- The analysis found that Amazon collects contact details and personal information
- Amazon claims that this data is used to make personalized recommendations
- 2 Amazon products targeting children found not jeopardizing privacy
A report claimed that Amazon devices targeting children are collecting their data to target them with more products to buy.
Parents are being warned about privacy issues with children’s devices such as the Echo Dot smart speaker and Fire tablet.
Analysis by Mozilla web browser found that the tech giant is not only able to collect contact details but also personal information such as photos and videos and their location.
The annual Unlisted Privacy Report claims that this data is used to provide, among other things, personalized recommendations.
Parents are warned about privacy issues with children’s devices such as the Echo Dot smart speaker and Fire tablet (file photo)
“Do they learn what your children like so they can try to sell them, or you, more things or get them to use their products more often?” said lead researcher Jane Caltreader.
Unfortunately, the answer to this question appears to be yes. Children deserve privacy too.
Only two of eight products from Amazon targeting the children in the study — Kindle and Echo Glow — were found not to threaten privacy.
Those that were included included the £59.99 Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition smart speaker, and two versions of the Amazon Fire HD Kids tablet, for three- to seven-year-olds and six to 12-year-olds at £139.99 and £199 at straight. The other three are not yet available in the UK.
The report said each game collected information, including name, date of birth and contact details, along with data on photos, video and location, which could be used to advertise products.
But it noted that Amazon does not show third-party ads to users based on their interests if they are under 13. All three devices also use the Alexa virtual assistant, which can record and save the questions asked.
The report said parents were able to delete the audio recordings by changing the privacy settings, but that Amazon could keep data about the response to a child’s request, which could help create a user profile.
Amazon’s annual Unlisted Privacy Report claims that this data is used to provide, among other things, personalized recommendations (stock image)
He said, “Amazon can get to know your child’s personal information well and try to sell them things from an early age.” Mozilla said it spent an average of 6.5 hours researching products – but it took “much longer” for companies like Amazon and Facebook.
Miss Caltrider said, “Amazon is the most confusing search company of all, because it’s big and has many entities and regions.”
An Amazon spokesperson said: “We are committed to providing customers with transparency and control, making privacy controls incredibly easy to use and understand, and keeping customer information safe.”