Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, sent a letter June 11 to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to request information on the technical design elements and privacy features of Echo devices and Alexa software.
The letter follows recent news reports indicating that Amazon products may share private consumer conversations and information that potentially puts Amazon users’ privacy at risk. As chairman and ranking member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, Flake and Coons have a longstanding interest in the privacy and security of consumers’ personal data, including information collected by in-home, internet-connected devices and voice-activated technologies.
“In-home, internet-connected devices like the Echo are designed to make consumers’ lives easier — they can play our favorite music, adjust the temperature in our homes, and order dinner from our favorite restaurants, all with a simple verbal command. While these functions can be helpful, it’s important that the right standards are in place to protect consumers’ privacy,” said Coons. “Recent reports have raised serious questions about how Amazon collects and stores voice data, and what steps are being taken to make sure this information is not shared without consumers’ consent. People have the right to know how their data is being used and protected, and we look forward to Mr. Bezos’ response to these important questions.”
The full text of the letters is available at bit.ly/2M3ZXzR.