Tech

Amazon, king of consumer surveillance, wants to make a tracker for kids

What could go wrong?

Multi-ethnic family is running outside in a grassy field - they are laughing while chasing each other.
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Today in this is totally fine and we’re not concerned at all: Amazon might make a wearable, trackable smart device just for children. The company has toyed with such an idea for a few years now under the code name “Seeker,” but it’s unclear whether or not Amazon is actually moving forward with the device.

Seeker has been conceptualized as a GPS-equipped wristband targeted at kids aged 4 to 12. Documents reviewed by Bloomberg reveal that Seeker has also been considered in the form of a keychain or clip-on accessory. In all cases, the wearable is expected as a voice-activated product with access to Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant, allowing parents to communicate with their kids and track their movements.

The idea of a kid-focused wristband isn’t all that fresh; plenty of big-name companies, like Garmin and Fitbit, have created their own takes on just that, actually. Even Apple has features meant to make its Watch kid-friendly if parents are interested in that sort of thing. But Amazon loves surveillance — like, way more than the average company does.

Oh, and a Disney collab, too — The state of the $99 Seeker wristband is unknown. Bloomberg found early mention of the device in 2019, and it was mentioned as part of the company’s 2020 product roadmap — but after that, the trail peters out. There’s a chance we’ll never actually see the Seeker. Too bad.

But wait — there’s more. Amazon is also working with Disney on a wearable codenamed the “Magic Band.” There’s zero detail about this one, though internal documents point to a 2021 release. For those not in the know, the MagicBand is a wristband you can purchase for use at Walt Disney World. Apple partnered with Disney last year to bring that experience to the Apple Watch, which leads us to believe Amazon might be planning something similar.

Amazon loves data — Amazon is constantly criticized for creating products made with surveillance and data collection in mind. One watchdog organization, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, even filed a complaint with the FCC over Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition in 2019, claiming the device allowed Amazon to collect data on children without a parent’s explicit consent.

Amazon has since introduced features focused on improving privacy in its Alexa devices. But the company has also continued to collect data from consumers at every possible turn, too.

The good news is that, based on the documents that Bloomberg could find, Amazon’s kid-tracking device seems to have been left in the dust of 2020. For the time being, you can go back to worrying about Amazon subsidiary Ring’s many privacy issues instead.