Our Stance on Privacy

November 20, 2020

Rectangle Circle

SoapBox Labs is proud to be an AI company with a data-driven business that also respects the fundamental digital privacy rights of children.

That might seem like a contradiction — speech technology that respects data privacy — especially when the media is full of stories about how smart assistants are “always listening.”

The real concern, however, with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, for example, is not the technology itself or how it works: it’s how the data they gather is used to support underlying business models focused on advertising or e-commerce. Business models like these make respecting users’ data privacy a challenge, if not mission impossible. 

When it comes to kids’ data especially, all companies have an obligation to commit to a higher standard of digital privacy. For sure, legislation like COPPA and GDPR exist to enforce these obligations, but in reality, technology evolves much more quickly than a set of rules can. To fully protect kids’ privacy rights requires that companies take their own uncompromising ethical stance and commit to building child-friendly digital tools, products, and platforms.

A photo of a girl sitting on a couch playing on a tablet computer.

At SoapBox Labs, we understand the business challenges involved in taking an ethical stand. Our privacy-by-design approach to technology and data did not make the development of our accurate speech recognition for kids any easier, or any cheaper. Doing the right thing does, however, benefit our business every day and will continue to do so for the longer term.

Entertainment and education companies who license SoapBox Labs’ technology are looking for long-term partners whose values and stance on children’s data privacy reflect their own goals and mission.

If, like us, you build technology that delivers trustworthy solutions for kids to use, you’ll reap the rewards commercially, and have the data you need to continually enhance your products. And all without compromising kids’ fundamental right to data privacy.

This post is by Dr. Martyn Farrows, COO and Data Privacy Officer, SoapBox Labs. Dr. Farrows spoke this week about child data privacy at the Global Child Forum. Watch it here.

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