Playtime just became a privacy concern for parents and their young children.
The new “Hello Barbie” doll, created by toy manufacturer, Mattel, has raised some concerns over privacy issues, as the new doll uses voice recognition to ‘talk’ to its playmate. This has caused some backlash from the toy community, and one group, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), is preparing to launch its “Hell No Barbie” campaign on social media next week. The CCFC, concerned about creating a safe environment for playtime, is warning parents against buying the new toy as it could act as a double agent, passing on personal information shared by your child for marketing research or nefarious purposes.
So how does the toy work?
Hello Barbie makes conversation using voice recognition technology. When her microphone is turned on, the doll records its playmate’s voice. The child’s dialogue then travels over the internet to a server, which interprets it so Barbie can give a tailored, pre-recorded response. It’s similar to the way Apple’s interactive Siri works. Mattel, the long time maker of the Barbie doll, is adamant that the toy will not be used for nefarious purposes, and the company behind the talk-back technology, ToyTalk, are quoted as saying, “All parties involved are prohibited from using the data to advertise to the child.”
Would you purchase the “Hello Barbie” for your children?
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