Internet & the Law

Amazon is being sued over its smart assistant, Alexa, recording children. Although, you may ask just how Alexa is supposed to discern whom is asking it to perform a task, parents in two states are taking action to stop Alexa’s interface with children.

The digital voice assistant that powers Amazon’s smart-speaker products is now a staple in many consumers’ homes. A pair of lawsuits seeking class-action status in Washington and California maintain that there is a privacy cost to the ubiquity that is Alexa.

Two federal lawsuits also have been filed claiming that “Alexa routinely records and voiceprints millions of children without the consent of their parents”. Of the two federal suits filed last week, one is on behalf of a 10-year old Massachusetts girl, and the other, an 8-year old Los Angeles boy.

Both California and Washington are two-party consent states, which means you must have the consent of both parties before you can record them.

According to the Seattle suit, “At no point does Amazon warn unregistered users that it is creating persistent voice recordings of their Alexa interactions, let alone obtain their consent to do so.”

The Seattle suit also makes this point, which is a bit disturbing taken to its logical conclusion: “It takes no great leap of imagination to be concerned that Amazon is developing voiceprints for millions of children that could allow the company (and potentially governments) to track a child’s use of Alexa-enabled devices in multiple locations and match those uses with a vast level of detail about the child’s life…”

An Amazon spokesman has declined comment on the lawsuits, which is not uncommon especially when lawsuits are pending.

What do you think about this? Do you allow your children access to Alexa in your home?

If you have legal questions, please consult our Online Legal Directory to find an attorney in your area.

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