Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Goodbye Dolly

Talking dolls really are evil?
The unique selling point of My Friend Cayla is that not only does the doll speak, but it uses speech-to-text protocols to be able to have conversations with the children. An example on the website has a girl asking the doll what a baby kangaroo is called, with the doll correctly identifying it as a joey. However, this listening functionality leaves the doll open to hacking. Anyone who has access to a valid version of the doll’s connected mobile app can access the toy via Bluetooth.

The FNA, Germany’s telecommunications network, first raised the problem of the dolls back in February, instructing parents to destroy it for containing a “concealed transmitting device.” Now it is taking the extra step of completely banning the sale, purchase, and ownership of the dolls.

Stefan Hessel, a law student who helped formulate the FNA’s legal opinion to ban the doll, told the Wall Street Journal that “it’s pretty bad bringing a doll on the market anybody in a 30-feet radius can connect to… A regular Bluetooth loudspeaker is better protected.”
No dolls for you...

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