15 Mar, 2015

Privacy fears over ‘smart’ Barbie that can listen to your kids

The Guardian | Tech | Samuel Gibbs | Friday 13 March 2015

Campaigners call for ban on Mattel doll that uses voice-recognition technology to respond to children’s questions – and send recordings to third parties

A “smart” Barbie doll that can have “conversations” with children should not go on sale, privacy advocates have said.

Billed as the world’s first “interactive doll”, the toy uses voice recognition technology similar to that employed by Apple’s Siri and Google’s Now digital assistants to understand what a child is saying to Barbie and respond.

However, privacy advocates are worried about the use of voice recognition technology that sends recordings of children to third-party companies for processing, potentially revealing his or her intimate thoughts and details.

“If I had a young child, I would be very concerned that my child’s intimate conversations with her doll were being recorded and analysed,” said Professor Angela Campbell of Georgetown University law school.