Smart Toys are Hackable & can be used to Spy on Children!

We as adults are using the technology in every possible way to make our work easy and fun. From tablets, Smartwatches to Smartphones we are using the latest gadgets in our lifestyle.

Those days are gone when we love to play the regular games with our toys and dolls as there are various and latest smart toys available in the market. Wide options are available for both youngsters and adults.

We love how these new age tech toys interact with the toddlers as it compensates your time which you are not able to manage with your child.

Some people consider it a good source of information as it makes their child learn with every interaction. But every coin has an opposite side too; what if the so cute toy of your child is listening to word you are saying and, use it without informing you.

Watch Promotional video for Cayla – The smart Toy:

Issues with “My Friend Cayla” and “I-Que Intelligent Robot”

The entry of new engaging smart tech toys has just begun. These intelligent and cute looking toys are designed specially to interact with your children.

They behave like their friend or a guide to this world full of new things.

But never fully trust them because these smart toys come with security and privacy holes.

This video explains the toys shortcoming:

Serious complaints are filed with such toys makers for the security and privacy breach of the children as well as the adults whose devices were connected with such toys.

These complaints were against Genesis Toys, the makers of new age smart toys such as My Friend Cayla and I-Que Intelligent Robot for children.

The company manufactures dolls both for young girls and boys. In the complaints made it was mentioned that the company collects and uses the personal information from children in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and FTC rules.

It is because they are using unfair and deceptive practices which are highly prohibited.

Genesis works with the most popular voice recognition software company known as Nuance Communications, this company has also worked for the ‘Siri’ which works on apple devices.

The Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), Consumers Union, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) are the groups which are filing the complaints against the Genesis.

What are the complaints?

According to the study by various groups, it is found that both of these smart toys use the techniques such as voice recognition, internet connectivity, and Bluetooth. This helps them to engage with children and toddlers in an easy conversational manner.

These toys are able to answer the various questions asked by the users (the kids). According to CDD, it is done in very wild and insecure way.

How to Hack smart Toys - My Friend Cayla

According to the manufacturers both My Friend Cayla and i-QUE use Nuance Communications voice-recognition platform to listen and respond to queries. And most of the queries/ conversational features can be accessed offline.

But various searches require internet connectivity too.

The problem arises when these companies collect personal information from children and the users connected to these toys with the help of Internet.

This leads to serious and legal obligations to protect children’s privacy. COPPA makes sure that the collection and use of information about young children should be treated with care and avoided when possible.

The complaints are also related to the security measures not taken by Genesis.

It is not possible to prevent the unauthorized Bluetooth connections while using the toys, Strangers and other unknown authorities can easily record the conversations and can use it for illegal work.

This creates a substantial risk of harm because children may be subject to predatory stalking or physical danger.

Don’t Go With The Hype

These dolls and other smart tech toys are introduced in the market with a strong marketing strategy which makes you and your children buy them as an educational, entertaining or necessary gadget.

These dolls work are able to connect with your Smartphones with some specific apps. They do not require any passcode or authentication pin when you need to connect it with a Bluetooth device, which makes this issue vulnerable.

Some questions are specifically recorded to these toys and some recordings and are sent to Nuance’s servers for analyses.

We don’t know how much personal information is being sent to these servers and how they going to use it The Privacy Policy is still not clear about it.

As these toys are fresh and newly introduced with a hype in both online and offline market. Double check the Bluetooth setup and other terms and condition before buying them in this holiday season but make sure the privacy of your child should not be affected by such toys.

Watch “My Friend Cayla Product Demo”: