Skip to comments.Creepy New “Smart Toys” Allow Pedophiles to Track & Talk Directly to Kids
Posted on 07/19/2017 1:15:25 PM PDT by johnk
A particularly ominous warning was put out by the FBIs Internet Crime Complaint Center this week alerting people to the potential dangers internet-connected toys pose to adults and children alike. Not only do these spy toys have the potential to record kids conversations, track their movements, reveal their location they even allow perverts to TALK to children directly.
The alert, titled: CONSUMER NOTICE: INTERNET-CONNECTED TOYS COULD PRESENT PRIVACY AND CONTACT CONCERNS FOR CHILDREN, warns users of the security risks and vulnerabilities posed by this new line of smart toys that connect via wifi or Bluetooth to your home network.
The toys, according to the warning, typically contain sensors, microphones, cameras, data storage components, and other multimedia capabilities including speech recognition and GPS options. According to the FBI, microphones could record and collect conversations within earshot of the device. Information such as the childs name, school, likes and dislikes, and activities may be disclosed through normal conversation with the toy or in the surrounding environment.
The collection of a childs personal information combined with a toys ability to connect to the Internet or other devices raises concerns for privacy and physical safety.
Given how easily children give out their information especially considering they think they are engaging with a harmless toy the implications for abuse from criminal and government actors are damning. The deliberate or accidental vulnerabilities inside these toys present a unique opportunity for sickos who want to spy on or otherwise engage in conversation with unsuspecting children.
According to the FBI, these devices could pose a risk for unauthorized access to the toy and allow communications with a child user.
In other words, pedophiles could access these toys and talk to children, potentially luring them out of the home and into the arms of their attacker. Given the fact that many of these spy toys use GPS, the predators would easily be able to locate their victim. However, its not just children that are unprotected, these toys are vulnerable to exploits which could allow hackers access to the microphone and cameras essentially allowing for unauthorized surveillance of their unwitting victims.
These exploits would then pave the way for identity theft, bank fraud, or even violent crimes against adults and children alike.
The FBI notes that Security safeguards for these toys can be overlooked in the rush to market them and to make them easy to use.
Consumers should perform online research of these products for any known issues that have been identified by security researchers or in consumer reports, the FBI recommended. Even if you do all your research and pick out the safest spy toys on the market, however, the data collected, and security measures are all out of your hands and in the hands of the manufacturer or server operations.
As the tech site Slash Gear points out, unfortunately, server security is on the manufacturer or their third-party partner responsible for storing the data, and it certainly seems that in a lot of cases, security of these servers is put on the back burner until a breach actually occurs.
As with any internet connected devices, allowing children unsupervised access from the start is a terrible idea. And, if you must have them, it is your responsibility to supervise your children, secure your internet access, and make sure that these toys arent wholeheartedly spying on you and your kids. Ironically enough, these toys sound like the FBIs wet dream.
As TFTP reported last year, a formal complaint filed with the FTC by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the Consumers Union notes that the toys subject young children to ongoing surveillance, in violation of privacy and consumer protection laws and, worse, the nature of the company Genesis Toys employs for that purpose.
Nuance Communications, the aforementioned groups state in a complaint to the FTC, represents itself as a leader in voice technology, including speech recognition software and voice biometric solutions that allow a search of the companys 60 million enrolled voiceprints for a voice match from recorded conversations to be performed within minutes. Nuance markets its technology to private and public entities and delivers its voice biometric technology to military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies.
Both Genesis Toys and Nuance Communications unfairly and deceptively collect, use, and disclose audio files of childrens voices without providing adequate notice or obtaining verified parental consent, the complaint stated.
While the FBI lists a myriad of different ways consumers can limit their risks of exploitation from these toys, conveniently absent from their list is the simple option of not buying them.
That picture of Pedo-esta scared the crap out of me.
It’s like a scene from Silence of the Lambs.
This is among many reasons I am not jumping into the Internet of Things. Too many vulnerabilities at this point.
I’m 100% certain that my Zhu-Zhu pet (electronic hamster) has already sold all of my personal data and secrets to the Commies. ;)
There are few, ‘people’ I would recommend a Death Sentence for but Pedophiles are at the TOP of my list, with those that abuse animals next in line.
(I’m talking the REAL creeps; not just the poor schmuck who thought his girlfriend was ‘of age’ on Prom Night.)
They’ll be selling a lot of them in afghanistan.
Its so funny to say that about your data. It really happened...in India.
Indians (from India) will line up for anything free out of curiosity. So, this cell phone provider set up a stall offering free USB drives if a person submits an application for cell phone service.
It just so happens that the stall was on the main road that led to India’s naval HDQ (where they were building their nuke sub).
Six months later, the entire sub design and plan were sitting in Bejing. The stall was fake. The USB drives installed malware into the PCs and laptops. They stayed dormant for six months, and then voila...all the plans transferred over to China in a flash.
Never buy Chinese electronics. Since that time, India outlawed the sale of Chinese made cell phones...they were capturing coversations, data, etc.
So, Tickle me Elmo is really Tattle on me Elmo?
My FReeper profile contains an alternative to death, for the squeamish.
Since you mentioned this incident, you may enjoy ‘Spy’ novels?
Have you read, ‘I Am Pilgrim’? If so, what did you think? If not - give it a read! I loved it. Even my sister, who HATES that genre with the white-hot intensity of A Thousand Suns...could not put it down. :)
Polygamy, and pedophiles, the next great civil rights issues to be solved by the next democrat president
I’ll pick it up tomorrow. Thanks for the recommendation.
Your recommendation of I Am Pilgrim (plus the stellar reviews on Amazon) compelled me to order it just now.
This is disgusting. The public schools sexually groom children in service to pedophiles, too, under the pretense of educating them.
Just finished ‘I Am Pilgrim’. Holy WOW, what a ride.
Best thriller EVER. The movie should be good but probably won’t come close to the 600 pg book.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I am recommending it to anyone that will listen to me.
Are they really making it into a movie? PLEASE tell me Tom Cruise isn’t slated to play, ‘Pilgrim!’ He ruins EVERY novel for me. Seriously. He does.
And Cruise is NOT ‘Jack Reacher’ by ANY stretch of the imagination. I refuse to watch that. If you’re not a Jack Reacher fan, start with, ‘The Killing Floor.’ Author is Lee Childs. I’ve gotten Beau totally hooked on the series. He gets mad at me because once he starts a book, the rest of the world STOPS...and nothing gets done around here. But, I don’t care - my nose is also in a book a good majority of the day. ;)
You know, these authors need to rethink their strategy. Those of us THAT BUY YOUR BOOKS AND PAY YOUR BILLS do NOT like it when you sell your soul to Hollyweird.
The, ‘movie inside of my head’ is always 100% better than anything put on the screen.
*Steps Off Soap Box* ;)
No news yet on the casting, but the screenplay’s by the author, so it should be good.
The only character I can picture is Ben Bradley, played by Samuel L. Jackson. Every word Bradley speaks in the book, I hear in Jackson’s voice.
Not sure about Pilgrim. Agree - NOT Cruise! Someone way younger.
Will check out ‘The Killing Floor’ - thanks.
I agree on the Bradley character. SLJ would be perfect in that roll. :)
Thanks for that info. As I am in the market for a new computer, I shall take care it is not of Chinese manufacture.
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