WASHINGTON, May 31 (Reuters) – Amazon.com ( AMZN.O ) and a subsidiary reached separate multimillion-dollar settlements with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday related to violations of the privacy of children who use its voice assistant Alexa and homeowners who use the Ring . doorbell camera.
Amazon agreed to pay $25 million to settle claims it violated children’s privacy rights when it failed to delete Alexa recordings at the request of parents and kept them longer than necessary, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Seattle.
“While we disagree with the FTC’s allegations regarding both Alexa and Ring, and deny any violations of the law, these settlements put these matters behind us,” Amazon.com said in a statement.
It also promised to make some changes to its practices.
Ring will pay $5.8 million for mishandling its customers’ videos, according to a separate filing in federal court in the District of Columbia.
In its complaint against Amazon.com filed in Washington state, the FTC said it violated rules protecting children’s privacy and rules against deceiving consumers who used Alexa. For example, the FTC complaint says Amazon told users it would delete voice transcripts and location information upon request, but failed to do so.
The FTC also said that Ring gave employees unlimited access to customers’ sensitive video data saying “as a result of this dangerously overbroad access and lax attitude to privacy and security, employees and third-party contractors could view, download and transfer customers’ sensitive video data for their own purposes.”
As part of the FTC settlement with Ring, which spans over 20 years, Ring is required to disclose to customers how much access to their data the company and its contractors have.
In February 2019, Ring changed its guidelines so that most Ring employees or contractors could only access a customer’s private video with their consent.
Reporting by Diane Bartz and David Shepardson; Editing by Anna Driver
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