Smart toys offer kids a way to blend playtime with a technology lesson, often with an internet connection and a mobile app. It just so happens that these toys can sometimes get embroiled in broader disputes over privacy. After all, this is the internet, and not even toddlers are safe.
According to 18 complaints filed with the Federal Communications Commission and European Union, Genesis Toys and its technology partner, Nuance, are under fire for allegedly storing recordings of children’s voices on a private server without parental consent. If true, the nefarious deed amounts to a gross violation of several privacy laws, according to Engadget.
The two dolls in question, My Friend Cayla and i-Que, both use a smartphone app, which children can use to speak to their toys in an automated dialogue. As The Next Web notes, the brilliant technology takes those recordings and sends them to a server controlled by Nuance, which then deciphers the file and creates an automated response for the toy to reply with. But, as the filings maintain, the recordings stay lodged onto Nuance’s server, even though parents aren’t queried for consent.