German watchdogs banned a doll with Internet access called “My Friend Cayla” Friday. The doll has the capability to chat with the kids who own it, and authorities declared that it is a de facto “spying device”.
Parents were told by the nations Federal Network Agency to immediately disable the toy. The agency enforces sanctions on surveillance equipment and devices
“Items that conceal cameras or microphones and that are capable of transmitting a signal, and therefore can transmit data without detection, compromise people’s privacy,” the head of the agency, Jochen Homann, stated.
“This applies in particular to children’s toys. The Cayla doll has been banned in Germany. This is also to protect the most vulnerable in our society.”
How the Doll Works
The doll functions by receiving the user’s question and transmitting it wirelessly to apps on digital devices, which then translates it and finds an answer online. It then sends the response back to the doll, who then voices it
The German authorities warned that what the child says to the device, as well as other people in the surrounding area’s conversations, can be recorded and sent in transmissions without the knowledge of the user or parents.
“A company could also use the toy to advertise directly to the child or the parents,” the statement released by the agency said.
“Moreover, if the manufacturer has not adequately protected the wireless connection, the toy can be used by anyone in the vicinity to listen in on conversations undetected.”
Genesis Toys, the manufacturer of the doll, stated on their website, that the company “is committed to protecting your and your family’s personal information.
“Our objective is to ensure that our products and services are safe and enjoyable for our customers”.