“Hello Barbie”, a New Doll With Big Brother-ish Capabilities


Hello Barbie will be available in stores right in time for the holidays. A campaign entitled “Hell No Barbie” however seeks to inform consumers that this doll has the potential to severely violate their privacy.

In an attempt to revitalize its Barbie brand, Mattel will soon launch Hello Barbie, a Wi-Fi-connected doll with artificial intelligence. The doll “talks” to children by recording what they say and responding accordingly. All of the children’s interactions with the doll are recorded using a microphone and are sent to a remote server through Wi-Fi. The recorded voices are then interpreted by an algorithm in order to generate an appropriate response. While some might find this innovation fun and interesting, others see in this toy a big-brotherish nightmare: It is programmed to ask personal questions to little girls, record their answers (and everything else the mic picks up) and then transmits the information to a remote location.

Even the promotional video found on the Hello Barbie website (which is meant to sell the doll) cannot help but going into creepy territory as it enumerates the numerous steps required to activate the doll : Downloading an app on a smartphone, creating an account using an e-mail address, connecting the doll to the home’s Wi-Fi network, etc. In short, well-meaning parents are actually taken through the steps required to turn this toy into a highly effective spy device that can pinpoint, with exact accuracy, who said what, at what time and where to then store all of that information on remote databases.

Hello Barbie makes conversation using voice recognition technology.

When her microphone is turned on, the doll records its playmate’s voice. The child’s dialogue then travels over the internet to a server, which interprets it so Barbie can give a tailored, pre-recorded response. It’s similar to the way Apple’s interactive Siri works.

“Hello Barbie can interact uniquely with each child … sharing stories and even telling jokes!” explains the toymaker Mattel in an online ad.

Golin and his co-campaigners worry about hackers infiltrating children’s dialogue, which will be stored on a server. They also dislike that the recorded conversations will be monitored at times to improve the system.

“Having people listen to recordings [of children] talking intimately to a doll raises a whole host of questions,” said Golin.

A big concern is that information gleaned from conversations might be used for marketing purposes.

“Clearly this is going to be a trove of valuable information when you have a child talking perhaps for hours with a doll,” said Golin.

He also worries that Hello Barbie could be programmed to push products. “Mattel may be cutting deals for what products the doll is talking about,” he said.
– CBC, ‘Hell No Barbie’ campaign targets Hello Barbie over privacy concerns

Although Mattel guarantees that it won’t use the information collected for commercial purposes (to push other Mattel products), it is not guaranteeing full privacy neither. As I pointed out in my first article about Hello Barbie, the privacy policy of Toy Talk (the subdivision that handles Hello Barbie) states :

What Information Do We Share With Third Parties?

We will not share the personal information we collect through the Service with third parties, except as described in this Policy. For example, we may share personal information as follows:


when we believe in good faith that we are lawfully authorized or required to do so or that doing so is reasonably necessary or appropriate to (a) comply with any law or legal processes or respond to lawful requests or legal authorities, including responding to lawful subpoenas, warrants, or court orders;

The above provision is quite open-ended and dangerous as the information recorded by the doll could be sent to authorities, governments and other entities – if “required to”.

Hell No Barbie

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) plans to launch a “Hell No Barbie” campaign on social media and its website, warning parents and children to keep their distance from the doll.

“This is kind of the perfect storm of a bad toy,” said Josh Golin, the group’s executive director.

His organization argues the Wi-Fi connected doll — which is equipped with a tiny microphone — could act as a double agent, passing on personal information shared by your child for marketing research or nefarious purposes.

Some parents are also suspicious of the toy. “Hello Barbie is pretty creepy and it would not be welcome in our house,” said Windsor, Ont., parent Mindy Terrington.


Golin and his co-campaigners worry about hackers infiltrating children’s dialogue, which will be stored on a server. They also dislike that the recorded conversations will be monitored at times to improve the system.

“Having people listen to recordings [of children] talking intimately to a doll raises a whole host of questions,” said Golin.

A big concern is that information gleaned from conversations might be used for marketing purposes.

“Clearly this is going to be a trove of valuable information when you have a child talking perhaps for hours with a doll,” said Golin.
– Ibid.

Considering the fact that the NSA actively spies on nearly 100% of citizen communications, isn’t it obvious that the information collected by this doll could easily end up in the same databases?

If you value your privacy and do not want your children to be monitored by faceless entities, you definitely need to say Hell No Barbie.


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62 Comments on "“Hello Barbie”, a New Doll With Big Brother-ish Capabilities"


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11 months 22 days ago

sorry everyone but this is really no different than your iPhone, which someone can turn into a remote listening device at any time, and even see you through your camera. this is still super creepy though.

11 months 20 days ago

This just adds to the trans-humanism agenda that VC has been mentioning for years and it also reminds me of the new Samsung TV's (I think it's Samsung) that can record your conversations even while its turned off and sends the data off…….Where it gets sent to?….God only knows.

11 months 23 days ago

I seriously wouldnt want my oldest niece having something like this.If she did I'd sell it on ebay in a heartbeat!
It's terrible how this world is coming to things like this when little girls talk to dolls instead of family or friends.My biggest fear is little girls are going to talk about their problems to these dolls instead of their parents and "THEY" hear these problems and make new toys for them!I remember a commercial about a diary you can talk to instead of writing your thoughts down yourself and im afraid the toys are going to be just like that in the future.Also its conditioning these kids to be even more anti social than ever!

11 months 24 days ago

"We will not share the personal information we collect through the service" "we may share personal information as follows…"

patricia kleckner
1 month 26 days ago

my company was looking for NCAR SF 2-T yesterday and was informed of a business that has a lot of sample forms . If you need to fill out NCAR SF 2-T as well , here’s a http://goo.gl/Ibh8YE.

11 months 9 days ago

Hey girls, don't tell Barbie your parents have guns in the house.

11 months 16 days ago

a cellphone for little girls

Just Saying
11 months 17 days ago

I'm going to point out that the notice about telling authorities is also mentioned in the paperwork you fill out when starting to seek help from a psychologist/psychiatrist…..for example, if you start making serious threats to yourself or others, they tell the police. This is literally standard stuff.

11 months 18 days ago

It's the exact same software as Amazon's "ECHO". But really, you've all sold out to the oligarchy in power. you all worship the state. have your toys and your games… you won't very much longer.

11 months 19 days ago

Hello Barbie uses Speech Recognition. It turns your speech into text. Now ToyTalk even with their bloated Venture Capitalist funding of $30 million needs to use a BIG company as Speech Recognition is complex. Guess who they use for Speech Recognition – MICROSOFT. Yes, folks all those words your darling little one says goes to Microsoft. Every word is recorded by Microsoft of which ToyTalk/Mattel has ABSOLUTELY NO control over. It becomes the property of MICROSOFT. Every conversation. Believe me whatever crap Toytalk/Mattel says this is a PURE business venture, they would sell your childs soul for a buck if they could, they lie when they say they control data because they are using MICROSOFT! do not trust these people. Mattel is desperate profits drop of 60% last year. They will do ANYTHING to make money.

11 months 22 days ago

This is not new. Two days ago I discovered the existence of a Sega Dreamcast game (we're speaking early 2000's here) called SEAMAN.

It did exactly the same thing and it also attempted to confuse the player over what is real or not, claiming that perception equals reality, and thus a confused mistaken perception IS reality anyway. Pure relativism.

It is puzzling why such a game would be made. Looks like a social experiment! You can find about this game on youtube, Angry Videogame Nerd for example. This doll does practically the exact same thing.

Incredible, interesting and creepy.

11 months 22 days ago

This whole scenario reminds me of a scene from one of the Harry Potter books. Mrs. Weaver makes a comment about a talking diary that got her daughter into a lot of trouble. To summarize:

Before conversing with a magical talking book, make sure you know to whom you're talking.

11 months 23 days ago

I myself would say “Hell No Barbie” as the “big guys” continue to snoop in on people’s privacy with rigged toys like this lousy doll. Its a pity that young innocent little girls are unaware about their privacy being invaded and recorded into those so-called “database” that has Big Brother’s fingerprints all over it, if their parents or guardians dare buy this intel-disguised toy.

11 months 24 days ago

Why would anyone buy this???

11 months 24 days ago

Was Mattel bought out by the Umbrella Corporation?

11 months 24 days ago

I've looked for comments online, what people thought about it & thank God most people were negative towards the idea & find the doll creepy. So that's a good thing, for once the masses aren't brainwashed.

11 months 24 days ago

Even the article missed this: the wording says "…if lawfully authorized, or…" "Lawfully authorized"… to share with a third party? Of course Mattel is 'lawfully authorized' to do that — with anyone. You agreed by use the wifi doll, and that agreement gives them full right. The laws *do not* currently say that personal information cannot be used for advertising and 'affiliates' (once consent is given)…. so there is no protection of privacy here.

11 months 24 days ago

I've said this here before but it bears repeating, Barbie is based on a German prostitute doll called Bild Lilli originally sold in men's novelty shops in Germany in the 50s and 60s.

The Barbie industrial complex already messes with girls' body image, now it wants to mess with their minds and feelings, too.

11 months 24 days ago

Pretty creepy because you never know what other hidden technology the doll might have…. motion sensor, hidden camera, fingerprint scanning, etc. Nope… no thanks. Seems like a girl version of a chucky doll to me. too creepy, potentially dangerous & invasive….

11 months 24 days ago

This doll needs a good soak in a water bucket, only then can any kid play with it … in a house with no wifi and pre-paid flip-phones. Yes, I am feeling generous…

11 months 24 days ago

I got a bad feeling that this is just the beginning of what's to come. Remember the last Bilderberg meeting? One of the topics there was Artificial Intelligence. I see A.I. popping up everywhere now. The next year they will really be pushing this. The movie A.I. becoming real right now!!

Free Your Mind
11 months 24 days ago

Also at the Bilderburg 2014 meeting, on the agenda, "Does Privacy Exist?"

11 months 24 days ago

I wonder what results came out of it 🙂

11 months 25 days ago

If you don't want the NSA to be listening in on your conversations then you have to put your phone in the fridge. Not turn it off. Put it in the fridge. They are always capable of recording you, even when turned off.

11 months 17 days ago

Just take the battery off, and put it back when you need use it.
The cellphone without battery can't connect to the cell towers so they can't triangulate your position

11 months 24 days ago

or in a laundry room while washing machines are on…

11 months 25 days ago

They made another one? Not surprised that stuff like that would sell well. Most parents are lazy and need something to keep their kids quit.
Also noticed how easy people are fooled. Most people would not want to have cameras installed in their house, but if the cameras are designed like something cute or cool and with some "amazing" commercial of "how awesome" it is to have it, you will be surprised how many people would buy it. We have seen it with Jibo, Ulo, Video game consoles and those Barbies.
No matter how "cute" or "cool" it looks like, I'm not going to bring stuff like that home.

11 months 25 days ago

Mattel needs to go to Hell on this one. This is very creepy.

11 months 25 days ago

The more times a wrong is allowed, the righter it becomes. Shame on Mattel.