Tech giant Amazon uses voice data from its Echo devices to serve targeted ads on its own platforms and the web, says a new report.
According to The Verge, the report, which included researchers from the University of Washington concluded that Amazon and third parties (including advertising and tracking services) collect data from interactions with Alexa through Echo smart speakers and share it with as many as 41 advertising partners.
That data is then used to “infer user interests” and “serve targeted ads on-platform (Echo devices) as well as off-platform (web)”.
It also concludes that this type of data is in hot demand, leading to “30X higher ad bids from advertisers”, the report said.
The tech giant confirmed to The Verge that it does use voice data from Alexa interactions to inform relevant ads shown on Amazon or other sites where Amazon places ads.
“Similar to what you would experience if you made a purchase on Amazon.com or requested a song through Amazon Music, if you ask Alexa to order paper towels or to play a song on Amazon Music, the record of that purchase or song play may inform relevant ads shown on Amazon or other sites where Amazon places ads,” Amazon spokesperson Lauren Raemhild was quoted as saying in an email.
The company also confirmed there are targeted ads on its smart speakers.
“Customers may receive interest-based ads when they use ad-supported premium content, like music, radio or news streams,” said Raemhild, pointing out that this is the same experience if they engaged with that content on other channels.
She also said that Amazon does not share voice recordings with developers.
“Developers get the information necessary to fulfill your requests within their skills, such as answers when you play a trivia skill or the name of the song you want to play,” she said.
“We do not share our customers’ personal information to third-party skills without the customer’s consent.”