A new report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation was released saying that they are urging parents to steer clear of “spy toys” designed to snoop on your children.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued an urgent notice concerning those toys that are packed full of sensors, cameras and microphones to record a child’s speech as well as having GPS locators to track their whereabouts.
The FBI’s statement says that, “Smart toys and entertainment devices for children are increasingly incorporating technologies that learn and tailor their behaviours based on user interactions.”
“These features could put the privacy and safety of children at risk due to the large amount of personal information that may be unwittingly disclosed.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation says these spy toys are now on sale across the globe and that last year parents were warned about a doll titled ‘My Friend Cayla’ which allegedly recorded kids’ conversations.
Several parents were also concerned about a toy manufactured by Mattel called ‘Aristotle’ which records the words spoken by children and sends them back to the developers for research or intelligence gathering.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said specific toys are fitted with microphones that have the ability to “record and collect conversations within earshot of the device” gathering pertinent information such as the child’s name, school, activities and “likes and dislikes”.
Dozens of newer gadgets requires kids to file a picture when opening a user account or hand over specific dates of birth or addresses of it's own users, which could be used in criminal identity fraud.
These high tech toys can also display a child's location which could leave them open to "exploitation" by perverts.
Hackers could also then crack into some of the devices and then talk to the children or spy on them without their parents' knowledge.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation had the following advice for parents, "Consumers should examine toy company user agreement disclosures and privacy practices, and should know where their family’s personal data is sent and stored, including if it’s sent to third-party services.”
"Security safeguards for these toys can be overlooked in the rush to market them and to make them easy to use.”
"Consumers should perform online research of these products for any known issues that have been identified by security researchers or in consumer reports."
The FBI says that there is currently a huge market for fitting internet connected gadgets with cameras and sensors for possibly dangerous purposes.
Have you looked at phones/tablets, etc, even handheld game consoles require permission to be granted for phone book, picture folder, microphone, and so on. Most of the software is vunerable and some have flaws you wouldn't believe, to make it worse most people don't even think to get security software, or can't be bothered. One of the most dangerous is GPS tracking which is auto enabled upon setup and can be used to locate the phone via its number for a small fee from GPS tracking companies.