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The Federal Trade Commission has plans to sue Amazon for allegedly illegally collecting data on children

It has been reported that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is getting ready to file a lawsuit against Amazon, one of the largest technology companies in the world, because of allegations that the company illegally collected data on children through its Alexa-powered smart speakers without first obtaining parental consent.

The FTC Suggests Filing a Lawsuit Against

According to reports from Bloomberg and Politico, individuals familiar with the matter have stated that the FTC is planning to file a complaint against Amazon, stating that the collection of data from children under the age of 13 breaches the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. The complaint will be filed against Amazon on the grounds that the collection of data from children under the age of 13 breaches the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA).

It’s Possible That the DOJ Will Launch the Complaint Instead of the FTC.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States may bring the case on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission as early as the next month. The FTC is required to first forward the complaint to the civil division of the Department of Justice, which will then have forty-five days to pursue a case. If the Department of Justice decides not to bring a lawsuit, the Federal Trade Commission is free to do so on its own.

Amazon Is Accused of Keeping Voice Recordings and Personal Information on Customers

This lawsuit is a result of several advocacy groups filing a complaint with the FTC against Amazon in 2019. The complaint alleged that Amazon was keeping voice recordings indefinitely and keeping children’s personal data, even after users attempted to delete it. Additionally, the complaint claimed that Amazon was holding onto voice recordings indefinitely. In addition to this allegation, the organizations said that Amazon failed to adequately tell parents about the specific information that it gathered from children, failed to provide a privacy policy, and failed to verify that it had parental consent to collect data.

Amazon asserts that it complies with the COPPA.

After receiving the complaint, Amazon stated that the two goods in question were in accordance with the COPPA regulations. However, the penalty for breaking COPPA is restricted to slightly more than $50,000 per violation, and because each impacted user is deemed to be a distinct violation, this might result in a significant punishment being levied against Amazon if they are proven guilty.

FTC Targeting Major Tech Companies

This disclosure also comes at a time when the Federal Trade Commission is ramping up its efforts to examine large technology companies for a variety of allegedly anti-competitive behaviors. Recently, Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Lina Khan claimed that current legislation prevents companies from tying access to specific services on an indefinite collection of data and that the law imposes substantive constraints on when companies can collect data.

A Few Parting Thoughts

Amazon’s suspected participation in the illicit collecting of personal information from minors raises substantial ethical concerns and, if confirmed, would constitute a gross breach of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). The possibility of a lawsuit being filed by the FTC against Amazon highlights how important it is to comply with data protection legislation, particularly when it comes to protecting the privacy of children and teenagers.

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