Menu
Tell-tale toys open bedroom door to strangers, consumer groups warn

Tell-tale toys open bedroom door to strangers, consumer groups warn

Internet-connected toys such as iQue and My Friend Cayla push advertising to children and allow strangers to converse with them, consumer groups say

Internet-connected toys subject children to hidden marketing messages and allow strangers to converse with them from a distance, consumer rights groups say.

The groups highlighted breaches of security and basic consumer rights in two toys in particular, the i-Que robot and the My Friend Cayla doll.

The toys connect via Bluetooth to smartphone apps that record children speaking and transmit the recordings to a voice recognition service provider in the U.S., Nuance Communications, allowing the toys to appear to converse with the children.

But, the consumer groups say, there is no authentication or pairing of the Bluetooth connections, allowing strangers within radio range of the toys to detect them and connect with them to carry on a conversation with the children directly. Furthermore, they say, voice recordings that could contain personal information are transmitted to Nuance without explicit consent, and the toys inject messages into their conversations repeatedly endorsing Disney products.

The flaws were uncovered by the Norwegian Consumer Council, and raised with authorities in other countries by organizations including the Union Fédérale des Consommateurs - Que Choisir in France and the Center for Digital Democracy in the U.S.

The European groups recommend that people should think twice before buying the toys. For those who have already bought one of the eavesdropping toys, they recommend turning it off when it is not in use, and suggest returning it to the store or manufacturer. Consumer rights laws in the European Union countries allow a 14-day "cooling-off" period for online purchases, they point out.

In the U.S., the Center for Digital Democracy, the Electronic Privacy Information Center and others have filed suit against Nuance and toy manufacturer Genesis, calling on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to investigate the companies' practices and to halt the product placement and the collection of personal information.


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments