Consumer groups' labs advise parents not to buy connected toys, claim risk of strangers listening and talking to kids over the internet


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/11/15/internet-of-shitty-spying-toys.html


#2

Also, there’s also a near 100 percent risk of parents listening to their kids and their friends in secret.


#3

Why aren’t they up in arms about Siri and/or Alexa listening in constantly as well? My home life is private. I don’t need someone listening constantly to hear if I say their name and help sell me more crap. Worse, they can possibly be hacked/backdoored by bad actors (state or otherwise).

Imagine the government demanded that all adults carry a personal locator device at all times, and instead of protesting, we are clamoring for the latest version. So they double down on their insanity and insist we install always-on microphones in our homes.

I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.


#4

Why would I want to hack some kid’s Furby, or whatever that is? I listened to a lifetime’s worth of kids in the form of my son. Conclusion: Kids are mostly boring. Their plans to take over the world never work out, and even their fantasies are limited in scope and intensity.


#5

Pay attention to their grammatical errors, strange repetitive behaviors, and unusual narratives. And their jokes. Listen to their jokes. They are clearly speaking in coded messages, the complexity of which puts adult intelligence agencies to shame.


#6

My kid’s Peter the Wolf doll started talking to her in a thick accent about getting rid of international financiers and voting a real American ticket.


#7

Is there no escape from this damn Internet?!!


#8

Because those companies have a better track record regarding both the implementation and their privacy protocols. Of all the big players only Google managed to mess up once, in a very limited way.

You did read the article, I assume?

“Among the toys specifically condemned in the report are the notorious Cloudpets, whose entire database of accounts and recorded messages sent between kids and parents was found to have been stored on an unencrypted, non-password-protected Amazon cloud server.”

(Also, from now on I will call these things “cloudpests”.)


#9

I’ve read the article. Google and Amazon may have a better track record, and that’s why I trust them with my email and the predominant amount of my online shopping, but I don’t trust anyone to put a web-connected microphone in my home.

You did read my comment, I assume?


#10

Yes, I read your comment. You asked why they aren’t up ins arms because of Amazon and Co. Again: Because they didn’t question the premise that users may find such voice-based services useful, but pointed out that the producers of connected toys implement them in a bad way so they can be easily misused by third parties.

You may want to turn this into a general “Nobody should want or use such services”-discussion and your are free to do so, but it looked more like old man ranting to me.


#11

First, I’ll admit bristling at the way your question “You did read the article, I assume?” was written. In poor form, I turned it back to you, if only to show how rude I saw it. Of course, you wrote it the first time and perhaps did not read it the way I did.

I think discussing the entire idea of always-on connected devices in the home that can monitor our conversations and more to be relevant in the context of this article, regardless of who implements them or how trustworthy they have been so far.

Perhaps my flippant line about ‘crazy pills’ (it’s a movie quote from Zoolander) made you dismiss it as a rant.


#12

With the short range of Bluetooth, setup a honey pot device that pretends to be a CloudPet and sounds an alarm when someone connects.


#13

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