Two brands of talking dolls, My Friend Cayla and I-Que Intelligent Robot, have the ability to listen to conversations of people in the room with them.
Some people are worried that this feature can collect personal information from private conversations. For adults, strangely enough, this is not an issue but children have special laws that protect their privacy. A complaint was filed with the Federal Trade Commission from a coalition of consumer privacy advocates including the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).
Where this gets creepy:
The toys allegedly send recordings to speech-to-text software company Nuance Communications, which the complaint notes, has contracts with military and law enforcement agencies. If there is no consent from parents before collecting their children’s voice recordings and personal information, then that could constitute a violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
- The Dolls have:
- A microphone
- Speech recognition technology
- An App on your phone
- Internet access
- Phone Camera access for the “I-Que”
To use the doll, a child must first answer several questions, including their name, their parents’ names, their school, their hometown, and their physical location.
- Is this information stored?
- If so, then where?
- Who has access to it?
- Can it be sold?
- Can what you say in your home, (In Private), be used against you in a court of law?