“Eavesdropping” toys could be banned in California over privacy concerns
by Jen McGuire, Romper
Nobody likes to feel like they’re being watched. There’s nothing worse than having a private conversation at a restaurant and you notice the next person is listening to you. You can tell by the way their body goes still. Oh wait, there is one thing significantly creepier than that: toys that can spy on you. In fact, one state in particular is concerned enough about so-called “eavesdropping” toys that they could be banned.
After receiving several complaints from consumer groups, the state of California looked at creating a new bill aimed at protecting children’s privacy… from their toys. The two toys in question are the I-Que Intelligent Robot and My Friend Cayla doll (made by Genesis Toys), and it turns out both toys can collect personal information from children, much like in futuristic movies or several of my recurring nightmares. Compounding the issue, the toys reportedly send the data to a company that contracts with U.S. intelligence and the military (Nuance Communications), though, to be fair, that doesn’t necessarily mean the military knows all your kid’s secrets about which classmate they have a crush on, nor would they be able to, you know, use any of that. Romper has reached out to Genesis Toys for comment and is awaiting a response.
In response to what some claim is a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (particularly as the information was reportedly shared without parental consent) Democratic Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson authored California Senate Bill 327, a bill specifically aimed at protecting privacy from children’s toys and any other home devices that might have spying capabilities.