After 75,000 Echo arbitration demands, Amazon now lets you sue it

An Amazon Echo smart speaker.

Enlarge / An Amazon Echo smart speaker. (credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Amazon quietly changed its terms of use last month, dropping a clause that forced customers into arbitration. Now, people can sue the company individually or in a class action.

The change apparently was brought about by a surge in arbitration demands over revelations that Amazon’s Echo devices were sometimes recording and saving conversations without consent, including those involving children. Those recordings allegedly ran afoul of laws in several states that require consent before recording and data collection.

Two state laws, the Illinois Biometrics Information Privacy Act and the California Information Privacy Act, have been key drivers of complaints against Amazon. Lawyers have filed class-action suits on the grounds that Amazon’s Echo recordings violated both consent laws and biometric laws, since some recordings were used to develop voiceprints to identify individual users in a household. But Amazon’s attorneys have successfully argued on several occasions that the cases should be kicked out of court and sent to arbitration.

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