Alexa’s data hold ‘locks customers in’
GOOGLE and Amazon are “locking customers in” to their smart home devices and fitness trackers, and preventing them from switching brands, researchers have claimed.
In a report on connected devices, UCL scientists said its research suggested that customers were unable to get hold of personal information that had been collected by fitness trackers and smart home hubs in order to move it to a rival.
Such devices can store everything from the number of steps users are taking each day, to questions people have asked smart assistants.
Under EU data privacy laws, European citizens should be able to shift their personal information to whichever company they chose, in what is called “data portability”. However, the researchers said that in their study, this was “not yet actionable”. Sarah Turner, one of the authors of the report, said there were very few exceptions to when users could move data.
The report comes as Brussels weighs up whether to take firmer action on anticompetitive practices in smart devices. Amazon declined to comment, while Google did not respond to requests for comment.