Not too long ago, Amazon unveiled the Echo Dot Kids Edition. Function wise this is more or less the same as the regular Echo Dot, except that it comes with a bunch of features aimed at kids, but at the end of the day it is still a smart speaker. Unsurprisingly this has raised many questions about the privacy of kids, which is a question that Congress wants to know.
Two US lawmakers, Sen. Edward J. Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Rep. Joe Barton, a Republican from Texas, along with a group of children advocates have recently penned a letter (via CNET) asking Amazon what they are doing to protect the safety and privacy of kids using the Echo Dot Kids Edition. The concern is the possibility of Amazon storing private recordings and information about kids.
Amazon has since responded by saying, “Amazon takes privacy and security seriously, and FreeTime on Alexa is no different.” The company also points out that parents have the ability to delete children’s recordings on the device as well as from Amazon’s servers, and that developers outside of Amazon are prohibited from accessing said recordings.
This isn’t the first time that a company has come under fire for creating smart products aimed at kids. Last year Mattel announced plans for a kid-specific smart speaker which they later cancelled following backlash.