May 9 (UPI) -- Retail giant Amazon is violating federal law by capturing and saving customers' voice conversations through its popular Echo Dot digital assistant for children, advocacy groups said in a complaint Thursday.
Nearly 20 consumer advocacy groups -- including Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for Digital Democracy -- have lodged the complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. It says the Amazon devices violate the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.
"Amazon markets Echo Cot Kids as a device to educate and entertain kids, but the real purpose is to amass a treasure trove of sensitive data that it refuses to relinquish even when directed to by parents," the filing states. "COPPA makes clear that parents are the ones with the final say about what happens to their children's data, not Jeff Bezos. The FTC must hold Amazon accountable for blatantly violating children's privacy law and putting kids at risk."
The federal law requires websites, mobile apps and smart devices to obtain parental consent before it can collect information about children. Parents also must have a way to access personal and potentially sensitive information that's been stored on the devices, and delete it.
Amazon obtains consent by requiring a credit or debit card and CVV security code.
"It does not verify that the person 'consenting' is the child's parent," the complaint says.