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Mattel’s New ‘Eavesdropping’ WiFi Barbie Arouses Privacy Concerns, ‘Seriously Creepy’

Check In Barbie

The Doll records children’s speech with an embedded microphone and sends it over the web

An advocacy group protested on Wednesday a so-called “eavesdropping” Barbie, which records creepy-barbiechildren’s speech and sends that data over the Web.

Calling the Barbie “creepy,” Camapign for a Commercial-Free Childhood launched a petition Wednesday urging the doll’s maker, Mattel to stop the doll from being sold, the Washington Post reports.

The Doll records children’s speech with an embedded microphone and sends it over the web, which leaves kids vulnerable to stealth advertising tactics, the group said.

[See more in the Washington Post]

Chief executive Oren Jacob of ToyTalk, the San Francisco-based startup that created the technology in the doll, told the Journal that the captured audio files is “never used for anything to do with marketing or publicity or any of that stuff. Not at all.” Instead, the technology is used to improve speech recognition, Jacob said.

Children press a button to chat with Hello Barbie, which “listens” to their speech and sends the audio recording over a WiFi connection to ToyTalk’s cloud-based servers, where that speech is recognized and processed. The Barbie can then make a response….(read more)

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“Eavesdropping Barbie” could easily lead to more troubling edtions of the popular toy. Next: ‘Serial Killer Barbie”?

TIME

1 Comment on Mattel’s New ‘Eavesdropping’ WiFi Barbie Arouses Privacy Concerns, ‘Seriously Creepy’

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