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ExtraTorrent > Articles > Virtual Assistants Violate US Child Privacy Law

Virtual Assistants Violate US Child Privacy Law

Virtual Assistants Violate US Child Privacy Law

Added: Friday, May 27th, 2016
Category: Recent Headlines Involving File Sharing > Ridiculous Criminal Trials
Tags:ET, p2p, Torrent, Piracy, Peer To Peer, Network, Hackers, Internet, BitTorrent, Google, utorrent, bitcomet, extratorrent, www.ExtraTorrent, 2016
Amazon’s Echo has become the latest virtual assistant marketed to families with young children. However, it turned out that the device is likely to contravene the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which regulates the collection and use of personal data from pre-teenage children. This is why Amazon, Google, Apple and other tech firms promoting voice-activated AI systems to young children could now face multimillion-dollar fines.


Privacy advocacy groups explain that COPPA was enacted to protect young people from pervasive data collection in the first place. In response, Amazon and Google claimed they comply with COPPA; Apple said they comply and they don’t target kids; all firms have extensive privacy policies.

The problem is that COPPA forbids firms from storing a child’s personal data, including recordings of their voice, without the parents’ consent. The law specifies the ways of getting that consent: a signed letter, video chat, or phone call. Amazon, Google and Apple all store audio files of voice requests in the cloud without using a COPPA-approved method to seek consent beforehand.

There are several ways to avoid being sued for COPPA infringement. For example, the companies can limit services to users under 13: this is what Microsoft does with users whose age in their online profile is 12 or younger – they can’t access Cortana on Windows computers, phones or tablets. Even on Microsoft’s Xbox One console, children must get a parent to make a small purchase on a credit card in order to activate voice and video services – such method is also approved by the law. The firms can also choose not to store voice recordings from kids at all, even though this can make the artificial intelligence service less effective.

The industry experts point out that penalties for violating COPPA can be heavy – up to $16,000 for every case of infringement. Two years ago, online review site Yelp paid $450,000 for collecting children’s personal data without notifying parents and obtaining consent. A few months ago, two software developers also paid $300,000 after allowing third-party advertisers to collect children’s personal details in their mobile apps. Fines can depend on the number of children and the size of the company involved. Given that Amazon has sold about 3m Echo devices in the United States, and Apple more than 100m iPhones, this may lead to massive fines.

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Date:  Friday, May 27th, 2016

Comments (3) (please add your comment »)

posted by (2016-05-28 04:56:18)
SirSeedsAlot avatarkids are products just like adults.

posted by (2016-05-28 08:17:01)
eyemanozzy avatarbloody paedofiles !google and apple etc ....anything for a dollar....looking fwd to the day their bubble bursts....
kinda hoping they get sodomised by wild camels.....even then that is way too kind...

posted by (2016-05-29 02:41:49)
No avatarWhat a world we live in today!!!! LOL

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