Translated by
Nicola Mira
Jun 5, 2023
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Data privacy: Amazon to pay over $30 million to avoid prosecution

Translated by
Nicola Mira
Jun 5, 2023

Amazon has agreed to pay more than $30 million (€28 million) to the US Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection to end the lawsuits brought against Ring and Alexa, two Amazon devices accused of violating their users’ data privacy.

Various Amazon connected speaker models featuring voice detection and the Alexa assistant - Amazon

The FTC recently filed a complaint against Ring, claiming that the Amazon subsidiary specialised in connected house bells and security cameras gave access to all of its customers’ videos to all its employees and hundreds of contract workers based in Ukraine, “whether they needed it to accomplish their tasks or not.” The FTC’s lawyers said in the complaint that “despite promises to improve security, Ring ignored the issue of information security when management thought it would slow down growth.”

According to the agreement struck with Amazon, the US giant will pay $5.8 million to avoid these lawsuits. An Amazon spokesperson said that “Ring had solved these issues independently years ago, long before the FTC investigation started. We disagree with the FTC charges and deny breaking the law, but this agreement will bring this situation to a close, so that we can focus on innovation for our customers.”

million for Alexa data

In parallel, Amazon is also required to pay a $25 million fine to the FTC to settle another complaint, which concerns Alexa, the voice assistant featured notably on the Echo connected speakers and monitors. According to the FTC, Amazon has illegally stored personal data (users’ voices, especially children’s, and geolocation data) that it had promised to delete.

The agreement specifies that Amazon does not admit its culpability, but that it does not deny it either. Both agreements have yet to be validated by the court in order to take effect.

In fiscal 2022, the Amazon group generated a revenue of $514 billion (€474 billion), equivalent to a 9% growth (and a 13% one at constant exchange rates). However, operating income slumped, falling from $24.9 billion in 2021 to $12.2 billion in 2022.

(with AFP)

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