Khaliah Barnes, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), believes that by showing pre-teenage children using voice-activated AI devices, Amazon, Google and Apple are admitting their services are aimed at youngsters.
“When your advertising markets this product to children, and parents with children, that would absolutely trigger COPPA,” she says. “Recording children in the privacy of the home is genuinely creepy, and this warrants additional investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and [US] states.”
Jeff Chester agrees. “Online devices have replaced TV as the babysitter, and companies will know there’s a child there by the very nature of the interaction,” he says.
Amazon and Google told the Guardian that they comply with COPPA, while an Apple spokesperson said “we comply and we don’t target kids”. All have extensive privacy policies.