In the Suburban Times article “Roomba with a View, a Memory, and Data” I warned of the possibilities of stored data being shared with products from the Internet of Things (IoT) – “Current Roomba compatible internet devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant give you a small hint about the future and reasons to be aware.”Not only do the walls have ears, but so do the new dolls . . . and they have memories as well.
Just in time for the holidays, Lisa Schencker from the Chicago Tribune in her article “Internet-connected toys might invade children’s privacy” writes “For the first time, the Illinois Public Interest Research Group Education Fund is alerting parents to be cautious about smart toys that collect data. The group releases an annual toy safety survey each year, available at www.toysafetytips.org.”
Genesis Toys has created a doll called “My Friend Cayla.” “She has a million things to say!” The doll is interactive with games and story telling as it collects data via a Bluetooth app. Sounds ideal, right? “The doll, however, records conversations between it and children and asks children for personal information, such as their mom and dad’s names, school names and locations, according to a complaint filed late last year with the FTC by groups including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and Consumers Union.”
In July the FBI issued a warning about children’s toys, which are much more than toys. “In an advisory posted on its website, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said that such toys may contain parts or capabilities such as microphones, cameras, GPS, data storage and speech recognition that may disclose personal information.” – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-toys-fbi/fbi-warns-parents-of-privacy-risks-associated-with-internet-connected-toys-idUSKBN1A22AW
I constantly warn individuals as well as businesses about flash drives that look like toys and equipment that stores information. Once purchased they just can’t be thrown or given away. They poses a security threat. Just like massive hard drives that contain critical, personal, and sensitive data, they need to have their memories wiped clean, which is almost impossible, so we recommend the use of professional shredding companies that completely destroy hard drives and discs. The problem with the new toys and tools, is that they send information elsewhere, as well. Be careful with all your data and protect your clients and your family. Be careful. Not only do the walls have ears, but so do the new dolls . . . and they have memories as well.