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Spencer Soper

Recent and archived articles by Spencer Soper

18 Jun 2018 | 3:34 PM

Amazon facing questions from US senators about Echo privacy

Amazon.com Inc is facing questions from US lawmakers about consumer privacy regarding its popular voice-activated Echo speakers, after an incident last month when an Oregon couple’s conversation was recorded by their device and sent to an acquaintance without their knowledge.

Amazon has invested heavily in voice-activated devices like the Echo seeking to make its Alexa platform a prominent tool in smart homes, where lights can be dimmed, temperatures controlled and shades drawn by voice command. — AP
14 Jun 2018 | 4:50 PM

Amazon’s clever machines are moving from the warehouse to headquarters

Amazon.com Inc has long used robots to help humans move merchandise around its warehouses. Now automation is transforming Amazon’s white-collar workforce, too.

Going forward, Amazon will need fewer people to manage its retail operations, a decided advantage over rivals like Walmart Inc and Target Corp, which are both spending heavily just to catch up. — Bloomberg
11 Jun 2018 | 12:46 PM

Amazon blasted by labour group over China factory conditions

A watchdog group is calling on Amazon.com Inc to improve conditions for factory workers in China who make Echo speakers and Kindle e-readers, renewing criticisms that CEO Jeff Bezos became the world’s wealthiest man on the backs of low-paid labourers.

25 May 2018 | 4:02 PM

Amazon explains why Alexa recorded, shared couple’s conversation

Amazon.com Inc said a series of miscues picked up by one of its voice-activated Echo speakers during an Oregon couple’s private conversation resulted in the chat being recorded and sent to one of their acquaintances without their knowledge.

23 May 2018 | 4:08 PM

Amazon’s AI facial recognition for police draws ire of ACLU

Amazon.com Inc drew the ire of the American Civil Liberties Union on May 22 over a facial-recognition system offered to law-enforcement agencies that the advocacy group says can be used to violate civil rights.

A Seattle police officer wearing a video camera on her eyeglasses as she talks with a person in Seattle. While the Seattle Police Department bars officers from using real-time facial recognition in body camera video, privacy activists are concerned that a proliferation of the technology could turn the cameras into tools of mass surveillance. — AP
17 May 2018 | 3:52 PM

Amazon brings cross-border ambitions to Alibaba’s backyard

Amazon.com Inc is bringing its competition with Alibaba right to the Chinese e-commerce giant’s backyard.

Cross-border selling is a major focus of Amazon’s logistics aspirations. — AP
15 May 2018 | 3:00 PM

Amazon is said to test new ad that competes with Google, Criteo

Amazon.com Inc is taking its most assertive step yet into the digital-advertising market by testing a new display ad offering that threatens multibillion-dollar revenue streams at Google and firms like Criteo SA.

Amazon said it can help merchants target shoppers who have viewed their products or similar ones, according to an invitation to try the new tool that was viewed by Bloomberg News. — AP
15 May 2018 | 2:00 PM

Amazon’s HQ2 derby dilemma: Go for lower taxes or liberal voters

The competition for Amazon.com Inc’s second headquarters could come down to which city can offer a red-state business climate with blue-state culture. Or, at least a culture that won’t have Amazon’s workers seeing red.

3 May 2018 | 4:22 PM

Amazon said to offer discounts to expand its payment system

Amazon.com Inc is offering to pass along the discounts it gets on credit-card fees to other retailers if they use its online payments service, according to people with knowledge of the matter, in a new threat to PayPal Holdings Inc and card-issuing banks.

Amazon Pay lets online shoppers log into their Amazon accounts from other websites, enabling them to complete the transaction using credit cards and delivery addresses already stored rather than having to enter them again. — AFP
3 May 2018 | 1:04 PM

Amazon launches own pet product brand, Wag; starts with food

Amazon.com Inc has started its own brand of pet products, called Wag, expanding on existing private-label efforts that include batteries, baby products, clothing and household goods.

Wag.com, which was previously owned by Quidsi Inc, now redirects to Amazon’s pet supplies page, which includes a new icon for the private-label dog food.

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