ALERT: Before You Buy Your Child One Of THESE Toys For Christmas… You Need To See THIS

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Talking toys could be spying on your children…




The talking doll “My Friend Cayla” is causing quite the controversy for this Christmas season.  Not only is she entertaining children, but she is also recording their conversations. A large group of consumer advocates and privacy organizations have now filed a complaint with the FTC regarding the doll with allegations that the manufacturer Genesis Toys and speech recognition technology provider, Nuance Communications, are using the doll in insidious ways to violate the privacy of children and their families.

Image result for my friend cayla spying dollThe formal complaint filed by  the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood, Center for Digital Democracy, and Consumers Union reads as follows:

By purpose and design these toys record and collect the private conversations of young children without any limitations or collection, use, or disclosure of this personal information.”

There are two toys listed in the complaint –

  1. My Friend Cayla – which is a talking doll that can understand and respond to kids in real-time.
  2. i-Que Robot – which is listed as a  “quick-witted, smart talking know it all” in its descriptors.

Image result for i-QUE" robotThese so-called smart toys are invasive in the extreme, requesting and asking innocent children very specific and personal information.  According to the complaint , the toys ask for parents’ names, school names, and city and state in which they reside, just for example.

This is not the first time that a talking doll raises these same sort of security and privacy concerns. Last year, Mattel released the Hello Barbie, which was marketed as an Internet-connected talking doll that could record conversations with kids and upload them online. The difference lies in the fact that the Hello Barbie doll only records when a button is pushed. Cayla and i-QUE are recording the entire time.

The groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission to take some sort of action since the toy manufacturer is believed to be violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and Section of 5 of the FTC Act.  They prohibit “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.”

In this instance, Genesis Toys could be violating both acts by not obtaining consent from a parent before recording conversations. Then compounding the violation by sending them to Nuance, which the company says they could potentially use for marketing purposes. COPPA states that parents should have control over their kids’ data and be able to access, review and even delete the data or determine if such data should even be collected in the first place.

This collection of consumer groups is asking the FTC to stop the toy manufacturer from doing anything that can be considered unfair and deceptive, up to and including the recording and sending of audio files without consent, not to mention the very real possibility of abuse.

Indeed, these are scary times we are living in when we have to be wary of our children’s toys being a threat, as well as everything else. Who’s to say that Genesis Toys doesn’t become the next Apple where the government demands that they allow them access to someone’s household? Can you imagine the potential for abuse with these toys?  I can and it’s frightening in the extreme.

h/t – WSJ

God Bless.



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