Last week, Amazon settled with the FTC, agreeing to pay a civil penalty of $25 million for improper retention of sensitive data collected from children. This includes precise locations and voice recordings, which violated COPPA regulations. While denying the allegations and disputing the violation of the law, Amazon stated that the settlement allows them to move forward and put the matter to rest. In a separate case, Amazon’s Ring unit also settled FTC allegations of employees’ and contractors’ improper access to consumer camera recordings. The same complaint mentioned cyber attacks. According to a company spokesperson, Amazon addressed these claims years ago, before the FTC investigation. The settlement now requires approval from a federal court. This incident serves as a significant wake-up call for Amazon and other major smart home platforms like Google, Apple, and Samsung. It emphasizes the importance of taking privacy seriously to avoid substantial damage to their brands. As an individual, I have chosen to keep my Alexa devices active, as I trust that these large companies understand the repercussions and cannot afford to mishandle privacy matters.
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