Connected toys are getting more and more popular, but they pose security risks. The US Federal Government is concerned about internet-connected toys for this reason.
The problem is, such toys can be used to spy on children and families, WND reports. One of the main questions is how well do the laws protect kids from being spied.
The federal government suggests there’s no clear answer. And officials may have to apply privacy laws to Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant, even though they’re not toys. That’s because of their ability to monitor and get information from children, explains a new report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Currently there’s a Smart Toys and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. It sounds timely, but it’s actually from 1998 when toys and the Internet were very different. At least it’s been updated.
Today there are lots of other smart devices that kids use. And last year there were some problems with smart, connected toys, too.
This made the FBI issue an official warning over connected toys. Recently the new CRS report added even more details. “At least one legal complaint has been filed with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that certain smart toy makers unfairly and deceptively collect, use, and disclose audio files of children’s voices, without providing adequate notice or obtaining verified parental consent,” the report says.
“Entities that violate COPPA and the FTC Act potentially could, among other things, be enjoined from continuing their unlawful conduct and face civil monetary penalties,” CRS said.
The FTC is also joining on the stricter rules. It will issue new policy of COPPA for toys. “As the Internet of Things develops an increasingly ubiquitous role in American life, and a greater amount of personal information about children is potentially collected through such devices, it seems likely that there will be continuing questions about whether the approach taken by COPPA and similar laws to the protection of such information is appropriate or sufficient,” the report said.
While this happens, you can also improve the cybersecurity of your kids yourself. It’s relatively easy.
Of course, you also have to be careful with other devices and services. The bad news is, that in this day and age, it’s not really possible to be 100% secured. But still, you can do a lot to lower the risk to more reasonable levels. It’s the new way of life, though, as electronics become a vital part of our lives.