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FBI Alerts Parents On Toys With Cloud Backed Features

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The FBI say, many toys sporting cloud-backed features such as speech recognition or online content hosting “could put the privacy and safety of children at risk due to the large amount of personal information that may be unwittingly disclosed.

“Security safeguards for these toys can be overlooked in the rush to market them and to make them easy to use,” the FBI warns. “Consumers should perform online research of these products for any known issues that have been identified by security researchers or in consumer reports.”

This comes after a number of kids’ toys were found to be indirectly spying on kids by collecting and storing data, including audio conversations and personal information, without parents’ knowledge.

My Friend Cayla and i-Que robot

Germany’s Federal Network Agency, or Bundesnetzagentur, has banned Genesis Toys’ Cayla doll as an illegal surveillance device.

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My Friend Cayla Doll Banned

The Wi-Fi-connected My Friend Cayla doll could be used by hackers to spy on children, so has been banned in Germany with parents advised to destroy the to  ( Genesis )

A German watchdog is warning parents about the possible breach of their child’s privacy for those who play with the Wi-Fi-connected smart doll, My Friend Cayla.

They advise parents to destroy the doll

The Federal Network Agency, an official telecommunications watchdog in Germany known as Bundesnetzagentur, issued a warning on Friday about the smart doll, revealing that hackers can listen in and even talk to the child through the toy’s insecure Bluetooth connection.

The Cayla doll has been removed from the market and banned, marked as an illegal “concealed transmitting espionage device.”  The doll had to be pulled from shelves because according to German law, it is illegal to sell a banned surveillance device.

The same law says also makes it illegal to possess a surveillance device, with those breaking this law risking serving up to two years in jail.

But households who purchased the doll won’t be penalized for having the now illegal device. Instead, the German watchdog is advising parents to destroy it.

Manufactured by Genesis Toys, My Friend Cayla is the interactive toy that can talk and play games with the child. The Wi-Fi-enabled doll connects to the Internet via Bluetooth to be able to answer question asked by the child, responding via microphone.

Google Patents A Toy that They Say Is Evil

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Google’s patent describes a toy that will look at and talk to your kids, then update a remote media device, depending upon the child’s feedback.The inventor of the evil robot is named as Richard Wayne DeVaul, whose job title is “director of rapid evaluation and mad science” at Google X. He works in a secret Google lab that may or may not be filled with roving robots, space elevators and talking refrigerators”. he also jumped ship from Apple to Google.

An anthropomorphic device, perhaps in the form factor of a doll or toy, may be configured to control one or more media devices. Upon reception or a detection of a social cue, such as movement and/or a spoken word or phrase, the anthropomorphic device may aim its gaze at the source of the social cue.

In response to receiving a voice command, the anthropomorphic device may interpret the voice command and map it to a media device command. Then, the anthropomorphic device may transmit the media device command to a media device, instructing the media device to change state.

The patent suggests other forms the demon dolly could assume in order to lure a child into a false sense of security, noting it could take the form of a dragon or an alien.

Young children might find this attractive. However, individuals of all ages may find interacting with these anthropomorphic devices to be more natural than interacting with traditional types of user interfaces.

A patent filed earlier this year has raised ridiculous concerns that Google may be building a robot army. These robots may be loaded with distinctive personalities, which alarmists claim are designed to raise the youth of humanity once Google’s AI destroys all adults.

Google has not responded to The Register‘s inquiry about the integration of these distinct areas of research at the time of publication.

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