Tags: hello barbie | talks | records | kids

Hello Barbie Doll That Talks and Records Kids Creeps Out Parents

By    |   Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 07:12 PM

A talking Hello Barbie doll that records what a child says and “learns” over time to tailor responses is disturbing some parents who have asked that Mattel keep the Barbie off the shelves.

Referring to the Hello Barbie, which is scheduled to be released in the fall, as “creepy,” The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood said parents should be concerned about their child’s data being sent to the cloud and processed through a Mattel tech partner, ToyTalk.

"If I had a young child, I would be very concerned that my child's intimate conversations with her doll were being recorded and analyzed," said Georgetown University Law Professor Angela Campbell, faculty adviser to the school's Center on Privacy and Technology, in a CCFC press release. "In Mattel's demo, Barbie asks many questions that would elicit a great deal of information about a child, her interests, and her family. This information could be of great value to advertisers and be used to market unfairly to children."

Gizmodo said the technology used in the new “smart” Barbie is much like Apple’s Siri. “Though AI of this kind has been around for years, the fact that it's in a toy has both privacy and children's activists all up in a huff,” the tech site said.

A Mattel spokesperson told Gizmodo that the doll would not be used for marketing. “Hello Barbie will know what day of the week it is so she'll be able to talk about, say, Valentine's Day, but she wouldn't talk about a corporate event like the Super Bowl,” the company said.

CCFC said that even though Mattel and ToyTalk say they’ll get permission from a parent to record a child’s voice, that doesn’t necessarily protect children. The advocacy group pointed to ToyTalk’s privacy policy that says recordings may be used, stored, processed, and transcribed to help improve the technology.

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A talking Hello Barbie doll that records what a child says and "learns" over time to tailor responses is disturbing some parents who have asked that Mattel keep the Barbie off the shelves.
hello barbie, talks, records, kids
308
2015-12-12
Thursday, 12 Mar 2015 07:12 PM
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