Smart Toys Under the Tree Raise Privacy Concerns

December 19, 2018

In the Law360 bylined article “Smart Toys Under the Tree Raise Privacy Concerns,” special counsel Scott Pink discusses how internet-connected toys can collect data from children, and the need for greater transparency among manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.

“Every holiday season, parents look for the right gifts for their children. With children becoming more tech-savvy, and manufacturers offering more technologically advanced toys, there is every incentive for parents to buy the latest and coolest devices: miniature app-connected code-teaching robots; wearable fitness devices; interactive learning toys; talking dolls; mobile game applications; massive multiplayer video games; and every parent’s nightmare — a teenager’s first cellphone,” writes Pink, a former general counsel for a major media company who focuses on privacy and cybersecurity law. “These devices often include terms of use and privacy policies that allow the collection and use of data from users — including kids. Another and more serious concern is how such user data could be accessed if these devices fall into the wrong hands. For example, unsecured Bluetooth connections mean hackers can gain control of some devices, viewing a sleeping child on a baby camera or talking to them through their toy. Interactive devices like online games or messaging apps could lead to inappropriate contact between young users and adults.”