Thursday, December 15, 2016

"Beware The Christmas Spy: Are Talking Toys Recording Your Children?"

What do the talking doll, "My Friend Cayla" and the "i-Que" robot have in common? They're both spies!

That's right gang--both toys are equipped with technology that is linked through an app to your smart phone and can:

  • ask children for very specific personal information
  • record and collect conversations
  • understand and respond to kids in real-time
  • send all collected intel on to the manufacturer (presumably to be used for marketing purposes)
How is this legal, you ask? Apparently, it shouldn't be. Consumer advocacy and privacy organizations have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against the manufacturers, Genesis Toys and Nuance Communications, requesting an investigation:
"This complaint concerns toys that spy. By purpose and design, these toys record and collect the private conversations of young children without any limitations on collection, use, or disclosure of this personal information. The toys subject young children to ongoing surveillance and are deployed in homes across the United States without any meaningful data protection standards. They pose an imminent and immediate threat to the safety and security of the children in the United States."
The complaint goes on for 24 pages, but you get the idea--toys that spy are not just play things. They can be hazardous to your child's privacy or worse. Can anyone say 'Big Brother'?

A wise man once said: "If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself...Big Brother is watching you." -- George Orwell, 1984
"What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the housetops." Luke 12:3

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