It is alleged in a new lawsuit that Amazon’s Echo and other smart speakers collect voice data from unwitting customers that it uses to target ads at them.
Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed in US District Court in Seattle seeking certification as a class action, which, if approved, could involve millions of smart speaker users.
In response to a media inquiry concerning a recent academic research paper that came to the same conclusion, Amazon essentially acknowledged that Alexa is used as a proxy for targeted advertising, although the company has long denied doing so.
As per the complaint, Amazon’s admission that it uses Alexa voice prompts to inform targeted advertising placed throughout its huge advertising network is shocking, especially after repeatedly disavowing any such practice for years.
According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners’ most recent research, Amazon now owns nearly 70% of the smart speaker market, with more than 80 million devices installed in over 50 million homes.
Amazon has repeatedly denied using Alexa voice data for advertising purposes, including in statements to NBC, the New York Times, and the Conversation podcast.