"Children themselves are unaware that everything they say to the doll is being listened to."

The problem with Hello Barbie

#Privacy

Tue, Nov 17th, 2015 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Noting that children will tell their dolls everything, privacy advocates are creeped out that every single conversation a child is having with Hello Barbie is being "recorded and analyzed." Some fear that this "information could be of great value to advertisers and be used to market unfairly to children."

According to Oren Jacob, parents have to sign a consent form before allowing their child to play with Hello Barbie. Because the child’s speech is recorded, stored, and converted to text files, the interactive element of the doll raises the specter of COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. Jacob said the Hello Barbie consent form is similar to the consent form parents sign when setting up ToyTalk’s Web-based speech recognition games like Thomas & Friends Talk to You.

But while parents are fully informed of the doll’s recording features—and can even log in to access all of the data Barbie collects about their child and post that data to Twitter or Facebook for laughs—children themselves are unaware that everything they say to the doll is being listened to.

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