Amazon gadgets use data to sell more gear to young people, report says
Alexa, stop following the technological habits of my children! Amazon gadgets use data to sell more gear to young people, report says
- Parents have been warned of privacy concerns in devices, including Echo Dot
- Analysis found that Amazon collects contact details and personal information
- Amazon claimed that this data is used to provide personalized recommendations
- Two Amazon products aimed at children were found not to compromise on privacy
Amazon gadgets aimed at kids are collecting their data to target them with more products to buy, according to a report.
Parents are being made aware of privacy concerns in youth devices like the Echo Dot smart speaker and the Fire tablet.
Analysis by the Mozilla web browser revealed that the tech giant is not only able to collect contact details, but also personal information such as photos, videos and their location.
Its annual privacy report not included claims that this data is used to provide, among other things, personalized recommendations.
Parents on privacy concerns in youngsters’ devices like the Echo Dot smart speaker and Fire tablet (file photo)
Principal researcher Jen Caltrider said: “Are they learning what your kids like so they can try to sell them, or you, more things or get them to use their product more often?
“Unfortunately, the answer to this question seems likely to be yes. Children also deserve privacy.
Only two of the eight Amazon products targeted at children in the study – the Kindle and the Echo Glow – were found not to jeopardize privacy.
Those who did included the £ 59.99 Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition smart speaker and two versions of the Amazon Fire HD Kids tablet, for ages three to seven and six to 12, at the price of £ 139.99 and £ 199 respectively. The other three are not yet available in the UK.
The report says each toy has collected information, including name, date of birth and contact details, along with data on photos, videos and location, which can be used to advertise the products.
But he noted that Amazon does not display third-party ads to users based on their interests if they are under the age of 13. All three devices also use the virtual assistant Alexa, which can record and save the questions asked.
The report says parents were able to delete the voice recordings by changing privacy settings, but Amazon may keep data on the response to the child’s request, which could help create a user profile.
Amazon’s annual privacy report not included says this data is used to provide, among other things, personalized recommendations (archive photo)
He said, “Amazon might know your kid’s personal information pretty well and try to sell things to them from a young age.” Mozilla said it spent an average of 6.5 hours researching products, but it took “a lot longer” for companies like Amazon and Facebook.
Miss Caltrider said, “Amazon is the most confusing company for search because it is large and has many entities and domains.”
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 secure.”