Norwegian consumer council Forbrukerrådet, says some high-tech toys created by U.S.-based manufacturer Genesis Toys are hazardous to children’s privacy and warranted a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission and the European Union.
The toys in question are My Friend Cayla and i-Que, they both have— a smartphone app that allows kids to talk to their toy and have it respond to what they say. Even though it appears that all communication stays between the app and the product, it actually gets sent to a remote server in the United States, without asking for the user’s permission first.
Parents setting up the product aren’t informed that their kids’ voices are sent to a server called Nuance, which is then free to use the recordings. According to Nuance’s Terms of Service, the data can be used for advertising and marketing and shared to third parties.