Concerned about a children’s doll recording day-to-day conversations, the Federal Network Agency announced a ban on the latest interactive doll, “Cayla”. The ban was centered around a concern of hacker’s ability to steal personal information by accessing Cayla’s recordings over an insecure Bluetooth connection. The Cayla doll was manufactured by a company based out of the United States, Genesis Toys. The doll is made to interact with children by recording conversations and transmitting them to a computer software company, Nuance Communications. This is not the first time Germany has banned an interactive doll. “Hello Barbie” was also banned and nicknamed “Stasi-Barbie” due to its voice recording capabilities.
Similar consumer complaints against Cayla were also filed in the United States. The complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission alleged that Genesis Toys have violated children’s privacy. One complaint stated that “these voice recordings are stored and used for purposes beyond providing for the toy’s functionality”.
See Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, The Bright-Eyed Talking Doll That Just Might Be a Spy, The New York Times (Feb. 17, 2017), https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/17/technology/cayla-talking-doll-hackers.html.