After news of the class action lawsuits broke, an Amazon spokesperson told the NY Post that the company offers "strict measures and protocols in place to protect [family] security and privacy" and that it "offer [s] FreeTime on Alexa-a free service that provides parental controls and ways for families to learn and have fun together".
The lawyers involved in the two cases are now seeking damages for the two plaintiffs involved, as well as those being invited to join the class-action suit in the nine U.S. states where Amazon is alleged to be in breach of privacy laws.
It comes after it was reported earlier this year that a global team of people at Amazon reviewed audio clips of people speaking to their Alexa-powered smart speakers, to help improve its functionality.
"Alexa routinely records and voiceprints millions of children without their consent or the consent of their parents", the California suit states.
One of the class action cases has been filed in Los Angeles on behalf of an eight-year-old boy, with the other in Seattle on behalf of a 10-year-old girl. Over 100 million devices featuring Alexa have now been sold worldwide.
Alexa does not require each user of the device to authorize recordings of their voice, only the person who sets up the device must consent.
For customers who don't have a Vodafone OneNumber mobile plan, Amazon is also introducing Alexa Outbound Calling.
The lawsuits allege that Amazon build a "vast level of detail about the child's life" based on these recordings.
"At no point does Amazon warn unregistered users it is creating persistent voice recordings of their Alexa interactions, let alone obtain their consent to do so", the complaints stated.
A broader children's privacy disclosure discusses Amazon's collection of personal information from children under 13 - which may include "name, birthdate, contact information (including phone numbers and e-mail addresses), voice, photos, videos, location, and certain activity and device information and identifiers" - noting "in some cases we may know a child is using our services (for example, when using a child profile)".
"So if you don't that, then we do do not keep any of the data for the child and we wouldn't ever do that". "They do not expect that Alexa is creating and storing a permanent recording of their voice".