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Internet-connected toys subject children to hidden marketing messages and allow strangers to converse with them from a distance, consumer rights groups say.
The groups highlighted breaches of security and basic consumer rights in two toys in particular, the i-Que robot and the My Friend Cayla doll.
The toys connect via Bluetooth to smartphone apps that record children speaking and transmit the recordings to a voice recognition service provider in the U.S., Nuance Communications, allowing the toys to appear to converse with the children.
But, the consumer groups say, there is no authentication or pairing of the Bluetooth connections, allowing strangers within radio range of the toys to detect them and connect with them to carry on a conversation with the children directly. Furthermore, they say, voice recordings that could contain personal information are transmitted to Nuance without explicit consent, and the toys inject messages into their conversations repeatedly endorsing Disney products.