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Barbie is listening and reporting home

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by cjvfr, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. Hello Barbie's listening ability 'creepy', privacy group says
    WiFi-enabled 'smart' doll can record child's playtime conversations

    A new "smart" Barbie doll's eavesdropping and data-gathering functions have privacy advocates crying foul.

    Toymaker Mattel bills Hello Barbie as the world's first "interactive doll" due to its ability to record children's playtime conversations and even respond once the encrypted audio is transmitted to a cloud server, much in the way that Apple's Siri voice assistant works.

    But the microphone-equipped Barbie's new WiFi features are striking some concerned parents as a "creepy" new development.

    The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood launched a petition last week to halt the release of the toy, which is scheduled to reach U.S. shelves in the fall and retail for $74.99 US.


    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. "Mattel says Hello Barbie's talkback abilities should only be enabled once parents have given consent by signing into an app, creating an online account and agreeing to allowing data capture."

    It's a smart phone accessory. Only an idiot would go through all of that to set it up then complain...
  3. And your point is..? :p
  4. Meaning it will be listened to by a 3rd party, outside Mattel, whom can very likely obtain and create a dossier of details and addresses of a child's friends, home, school, parent, family etc.
    FUK NO!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Yet people use Siri and whatever the equivalent is on android every day.
  6. Without reading, understanding, or appreciating the conditions of use they agree to. I guess that's why the privacy group is acting on behalf of the majority of parents whom don't.
    Everything spoken by Siri is listened to by at least one 3rd party, outside Apple.

    There will come a day, not too far away, where a world leader is threatened/bribed/ousted because of what they said to Barbie as a child, or even want they said to Siri 5 years ago as an adult.
  7. Isn't it pretty standard fare though that the data is anonymised before it leaves the device or toy in this case?

    Meaning it can't actually be linked to any particular user.
  8. The only way I really see the data being used is for a pretty fun toy, a doll you talk to that somewhat understands what you are saying and replies, it is possible and probably the case that the types of things children say to the device will be used for developing accessories or other toy's

    The only evil thing I can see might be an issue if the doll starts telling the child to ask mummy and daddy for particular toys or directly advertises things to the child.

    Barbie: "Hey Jenny, did you know I now have a dream house to live in? go ask your mum or dad to buy it for you"
  9. Or, more profitably, you collate data on what the kids like, what attracts their attention, etcetera, then sell it to advertisers.

    "Anonymised" generally means they've stripped things to down to the IP address, which is most certainly traceable to at least a household. Given that this is an account-based service which require data to flow both ways*, I doubt even that much has been done.

    *Compared to something like Steam, where it is account based but the data they collect is just sent off and dumped in a database for mass analysis (giving them options like hashing the IP, which would be unique but irreversible).
  10. Great now I've got that "hello babie let's go party" song stuck in my head. If anyone wants me I'll be shoving sharp things into my brain to make it stop.
  11. They all start off as nice play things....

    • Funny Funny x 2
  12. Not when little miss 5yo tells Barbie her name, what school she goes to, whether mum and dad both work, etc, etc. Is all recorded in the digitised recording.
  13. Yeah, I'm pretty sure the adult industry has had those for a while now.
    • Funny Funny x 2