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Radio News: Wireless devices marketed to children may violate law

May 26, 2016 10:53 pm
The Guardian has found in an investigation that new electronic gizmos such as Amazon's Echo violate the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), set up to regulate the collection and use of personal information from anyone younger than 13. The story suggests companies such as Google, Apple, and others marketing artificial intelligence systems to young children could face multimillion-dollar fines. “This is part of the initial wave of marketing to children using the internet of things,” says Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a privacy advocacy group that helped write the law. “It is exactly why the law was enacted in the first place, to protect young people from pervasive data collection.” The story says Google’s standalone Home device, just announced but not yet on sale, and Apple’s Siri, use young children and Cookie Monster from Sesame Street in their ads. “When your advertising markets this product to children, and parents with children, that would absolutely trigger COPPA,” says Khaliah Barnes, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “Recording children in the privacy of the home is genuinely creepy, and this warrants additional investigation by the Federal Trade Commission and the states.” Amazon and Google claim they comply with COPPA, while an Apple spokesperson told The Guardian that the company complied and doesn’t target kids. Read the full story in The Guardian.