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Feds warn about the dangers of internet-connected toys

Posted: 2:21 PM, Dec 09, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-09 14:21:11-05
Finding security in the future of the internet

INDIANAPOLIS — If you’re planning to buy any internet-connected toys for your children this Christmas, the Federal Trade Commission has an alert you need to know about.

Typically, the toys you should be concerned about are equipped with sensors, microphones, GPS tracking, Wi-Fi and other technology that could give criminals access to private information that could lead to identity theft or worse.

The FTC issued a warning that toys connected to the internet could pose threats to children because of the massive amount of personal information that may be unknowingly revealed by these devices.

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Here are tips from the FTC on how to protect your kids’ data:

Understand the smart toy’s features:

  • Does the toy come with a camera or microphone? What will it be recording, and will you know when the camera or microphone is on?
  • Does the toy let your child send emails or connect to social media accounts?
  • Can parents control the toy and be involved in its setup and management? What controls and options does it have? What are the default settings?

Understand what information the toy collects, and how it will be used:

  • When your child plays with the toy, what kind of information does it collect?
  • Where is this data (including pictures and recordings) stored, how is it shared, and who has access to it? Does the toy company give parents a way to see and delete the data? Is the information secure?
  • If the toy collects personal information from your child who’s under 13 years old, the toy company has to tell you about its privacy practices, ask for your consent, protect and secure collected data, and give you the right to have your child’s personal information deleted.