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.

Just Posted

Why “Weir” Ready: with Dr. Shannon Waters

This is part one of a feature series by the Cowichan Watershed Board

Robert Barron column: A Canadian hero I wish I had talked to

Almost nobody was there on that cold Newfoundland day when Terry Fox started his run

Caps improve to 3-0

Lynn and Arquiett score two each as Caps double up Chiefs

Carving in Cowichan provided road to recovery for stroke victim

“I didn’t know if I’d be able to get out of bed or walk, let alone carve”

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

B.C. police watchdog to investigate man’s head injury during RCMP arrest

Suspect fled on a bicycle and fell off when an officer attempted to stop him

Most Read