Today, Amazon reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding allegations brought by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) about how Amazon handles Alexa customer data—including children’s data.
We take our responsibilities to our customers and their families very seriously. We have consistently taken steps to protect customer privacy by providing clear privacy disclosures and customer controls, conducting ongoing audits and process improvements, and maintaining strict internal controls to protect customer data. While we disagree with the FTC’s claims and deny violating the law, this settlement puts the matter behind us, and we believe it’s important to put the settlement in the right context.
We have a longstanding commitment to preserve the trust of our customers and their families.
We work hard to protect children’s privacy, and we have built robust privacy protections into our children’s products and services. We designed Amazon Kids to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and applied rigorous standards when we expanded Amazon Kids to include Alexa. In fact, before we launched Amazon Kids on Alexa several years ago, we collaborated directly with the FTC to share our approach to COPPA compliance. Included below are some of the strong protections we have in place for children.
- We require verifiable parental consent from all customers before enabling Amazon Kids on Alexa.
- We provide a Children’s Privacy Disclosure to describe how we handle personal information we collect from children under age 13 and the choices parents have, including our data retention practices and how to delete personal information.
- We provide parents and guardians with visibility and control over how long they want Amazon to retain voice recordings—including whether to retain voice recordings at all. Parents can easily delete individual child voice recordings and transcripts in the Alexa app, on the Alexa Privacy page, and when contacting Customer Service.
- We retain voice recordings until parents choose to delete them so we can provide parents with insight into their children’s use of Alexa in the Alexa Privacy page, and to provide and improve our services.
- We provide parents with robust data controls. Parents can create and manage personalized Amazon Kids profiles and content on compatible Amazon devices. Later this year, we will remove child profiles that have been inactive for more than 18 months. Parents will have the option to keep these inactive child profiles if they do not want us to remove them.
- We do not serve interest-based ads to children in the Amazon Kids experience, and we never sell our customers’ personal data, including children’s data.
We provide customers with transparency and control over their Alexa experience.
Customers have the ability to view, hear, and delete voice recordings and transcripts at any time in the Alexa app or the Alexa Privacy page. Customers can choose not to have recordings and transcripts saved at all or to automatically delete recordings on an ongoing three- or 18-month basis. Customers can also delete voice recordings by voice (e.g., “Alexa, delete what I just said”) either one by one, by date range, or by device. We understand the importance of deletion features, which is why we provide deletion controls and continuously audit and improve them.
We take our responsibilities to our customers and their families very seriously, and we will continue to invent more privacy features on behalf of our customers and ensure they are aware of the controls and options available to them.
To learn more about our commitment to customer privacy, visit the Alexa Privacy Hub.