Mozilla exec tells Ottawa big data committee he was ‘shocked’ by what Alexa recorded

He says internet companies need to do more to give customers more “granular” consent options

A security executive for the internet browser company Mozilla says he was shocked by the recordings of his family that were collected and retained by Amazon’s popular Alexa voice-activated interactive speaker.

Alan Davidson, Mozilla’s vice-president of global policy, trust and security, says the Amazon Echo device is a wonderful product but when he recently examined what his family’s had recorded and stored, he found it included conversations among his young children.

He says none of that may be wrong or unlawful, but he says it highlights the problems with how consumers actively give consent to tech companies.

Davidson says internet companies need to do more to give customers more “granular” consent options for how specific pieces of personal information are collected and used by high-tech companies.

Mark Ryland, the chief security officer for Amazon Web Services, says Amazon makes it very clear that consent is part of the Alexa experience, and that customers can delete any collected data if they like.

Davidson and Ryland were testifying in Ottawa before the international grand committee on big data, privacy and democracy, which includes politicians from Canada, Britain, and several other countries.

READ MORE: Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No plans to rebuild Hardy Bay Industrial Centre after fire, owner says

A massive fire burnt down the old building in April

Port Hardy Fire Rescue adapts to new realities amidst COVID-19

Don’t forget to follow Port Hardy Fire Rescue on Facebook.

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Alert Bay: COVID-19 cases go from 30 to zero thanks to health and emergency planning

Dr. Cutfeet says community leadership set Alert Bay up for success

Kwakiutl First Nation cautiously eases restrictions around COVID-19; Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw to remain locked down for now

Both First Nations near Port Hardy have no COVID-19 cases, and are prioritizing community safety

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Most Read