In a landmark settlement, Amazon has agreed to pay over $30 million to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over privacy violations related to its Ring and Alexa products. The settlement comes after the FTC opened an investigation into Amazon’s practices, following reports of vulnerabilities in these devices that could lead to unauthorized access to users’ personal data.
According to the FTC, Amazon failed to provide adequate security measures for its Ring doorbell cameras, allowing hackers to gain access to users’ Wi-Fi passwords and ultimately control the devices remotely. In addition, the company was found to have retained audio and text transcripts of users’ interactions with its Alexa virtual assistant, even after they had been deleted by the user.
“Amazon collected and used sensitive information without providing sufficient notice or obtaining meaningful consent,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “This egregious behavior will not be tolerated, and the order announced today will help to ensure Amazon’s compliance with consumer protection laws in the future.”
Under the terms of the settlement, Amazon will pay $30 million to the FTC, which will be used to provide refunds to affected customers. In addition, the company has agreed to implement new privacy and security measures to prevent future violations, including regular third-party assessments of its security practices and the development of robust data deletion protocols.
“Protecting our customers’ privacy and security is our top priority, and we are committed to ongoing improvements to our devices and services,” said an Amazon spokesperson. “We have already taken steps to address the issues identified by the FTC and will continue to work closely with regulators to ensure we meet the highest standards of consumer protection.”