Stop Child Predators, an organization that works to protect children from sexual predators, has sent a letter to the Judiciary and Commerce Committees of both the House and the Senate asking lawmakers to investigate alleged violations of children’s privacy by the Masters of the Universe.
The letter, which is addressed to the chairmen and ranking members of the Judiciary and Commerce Committees of the House and Senate, names Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook as culprits of this behavior, citing a number of instances in which the tech giants have recorded and analyzed audio from children who use the companies’ devices.
The cases include:
- Microsoft, whose contractors admitted that the audio files from Xbox video game consoles they were paid to analyze included those of children. One contractor said most of the audio he analyzed was from children.
- Apple, which recently had to apologize for allowing contractors to listen to the audio recordings of Siri users. The audio files reportedly included recordings of people having sex.
- Amazon, which employs thousands of people globally to listen to and transcribe recordings from its Alexa devices. The company recently received a complaint from consumer advocacy groups that allege its “Echo Dot Kids,” a smart speaker for children, inadequately protects children’s’ privacy.
- Facebook, which also used contractors to listen in on audio — from its Facebook Messenger users.
- Google, which also hired contractors to listen to users’ audio recordings, from Google Home Assistant devices.
In its letter, Stop Child Predators condemned the tech giants for their lack of transparency, and called on lawmakers to investigate.
Via the letter:
we believe that at a minimum, it is essential that companies recording our children, often without their knowledge, be required to clearly and unambiguously disclose exactly how such data is being gathered and who is listening to it.
The fact that today we do not know which companies are using outside contractors, whether those contractors are even located in the United States, or whether those listening to users have been properly vetted for such a sensitive task is a major concern that deserves further investigation.