Even Barbie is eavesdropping now?

these are great days

Privacy is currently the biggest cause of unease around new technology and artificial intelligence and it is not surprising that products developed for children are starting to raise concerns around privacy as well.

Hello Barbie by Mattel is interactive, that is, it is supposed to have meaningful conversations with a child. In order to achieve this, it records what the child says and sends the information to the cloud, where Mattel can retrieve it, use it to let Barbie learn and talk back, but also to better define marketing campaigns and advertise directly to the children. The toy has been called “creepy” and renamed “eavesdropping” Barbie.

It does seem very creepy, not only for the easy to guess privacy concerns expressed by several organizations (see links to articles below) but also because childhood play is supposed to be creative and stimulate imagination. I wouldn’t want my child to play with a doll that…

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