At least two toys here for the holidays are collecting and recording our kids voices and their private information while sharing it with a countless number of parties, according to
a complaint filed by four child advocacy groups, including The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
By using smart cameras, microphones and sensors that record and respond to our kids, “My Friend Cayla” and “I-Que Intelligence Robot” dolls are passing along their voices, their names, and whatever other information our kids provided in what they thought were private conversations. It all goes on to Nuance Communications, which provides third-party voice recognition software for the toys, according to the complaint. What’s more, there are no security measures to protect almost anyone with a Bluetooth connection from hearing what our kids are say.
The whole thing fails to prevent strangers and predators from eavesdropping on children’s private conversations, says the press release, which creates a substantial risk of harm because children may be subject to predatory stalking or physical danger. What’s more, the whole endeavor violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act – designed to protect our kids from dangers exactly like this one.
The advertisements tell you the doll “talks, listens to you, and knows millions of things,” but the box doesn’t give notice or get our parental consent for recording our kids.