Consumer advocate groups in Pittsburgh are raising awareness about a doll that could be being used to spy on your children (video below).
My Friend Cayla may seem like a harmless doll, but some consumer advocate groups are concerned the toy is being used to spy on their children, WHTM reported.
“Parents are buying this doll without any clue their children are essentially being spied on,” Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, told WHTM.
According to the groups, third parties can spy on your children through the internet-connected doll. The doll collects data, and in this case, can record your child's voice.
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Conversations between the doll and your child would be recorded and converted into text, according to the complaint. That data is then sent to Nuance Communications, and stored in a cloud.
The groups want the Federal Trade Commission to investigate what happens next. They fear their children are being targeted by marketers.
“For instance, Cayla talks a lot about Disney products and going to Disneyland, so there’s a real possibility for product placement to occur within the doll itself,” Golin explained.
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In their petition to the FTC, the groups also warn that anyone with a Bluetooth connection could hack into the doll.
“Obviously, the idea of a stranger being able to talk to your child while they’re in their bedroom playing with their doll is beyond creepy,” Golin said.
The groups also warned about another toy named the I-Que Intelligent Robot, which is manufactured by the same company, Genesis Toys.
“Nuance takes data privacy seriously," Nuance executive Richard Mack wrote in a blog post. “Our policy is that we don’t use or sell voice data for marketing or advertising purposes. Upon learning of the consumer advocacy groups’ concerns through media, we validated that we have adhered to our policy with respect to the voice data collected through the toys referred to in the complaint."
Researchers found that My Friend Cayla was preprogrammed to name "Let It Go" from Disney's "Frozen" as her favorite song, CBS News reported. The doll also says she wants to visit Epcot in Disneyworld.