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Hello Barbie : The Creepy Doll That Spies on Kids … and their Parents

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Mattel’s latest doll Hello Barbie dialogs with children, records their answers and sends the information back to a database via Wifi and Bluetooth.
Hello Barbie : The Creepy Doll That Spies on Kids ... and their Parents

Hello Barbie is “the world’s first interactive Barbie doll” … and it is rather creepy. Equipped with a microphone and internet connectivity, the doll asks questions to children, records their answers and send the information back to Mattel servers where it is filed and processed by a powerful algorithm.

Hello Barbie works by recording a child’s voice with an embedded microphone that is triggered by pressing a button on the doll. As the doll “listens,” audio recordings travel over the Web to a server where the snippets of speech are recognized and processed. That information is used to help form Hello Barbie’s responses.
– Washington Post, Privacy advocates try to keep ‘creepy,’ ‘eavesdropping’ Hello Barbie from hitting shelves

At the New York toy fair, Mattel representatives demonstrated Hello Barbie’s capabilities.

At the demonstration at the New York toy fair, the Mattel representative chatting with Hello Barbie mentioned that she liked being onstage. Later in the conversation, when the Mattel representative asked Hello Barbie what she should be when she grew up, the doll responded, “Well, you told me you like being onstage. So maybe a dancer? Or a politician? Or how about a dancing politician?”
– Ibid.

A quick review of the privacy policy of ToyTalk (the subdivision that handles Hello Barbie), reveals that the information recorded could be used for a variety of reasons.

We may use, transcribe and store such Recordings to provide and maintain the Service, to develop, test or improve speech recognition technology and artificial intelligence algorithms, and for other research and development or internal purposes. We may make such Recordings available to the parent account holder and permit the parent account holder to share such Recordings with third parties. These Recordings may contain additional personal information if such information is provided in the Recordings, but we do not use personal information contained in Recordings to try to contact anyone. Please see “What Information Do We Share With Third Parties?” for information on how this information is shared with third parties.

How Do We Use the Personal Information We Collect?

We use personal information collected through our Service for the purposes described in this Policy or elsewhere on the Service. For example, we may use personal information we collect:

  • to obtain parental consent and create a parent account;
  • to provide and maintain the Service and to process and complete any transactions in connection therewith;
  • respond to your communications and requests, provide customer service, request feedback, and otherwise contact you about your use of the Service;
  • to monitor and analyze usage and trends and demographic information, and to personalize and improve the Service, our technology and our users’ experiences;
  • to provide you with news and information about our events, activities, offers, promotions, products, and services we think will be of interest to you (with your consent where prior consent is required by applicable law);
  • to send you confirmations, updates, product announcements, security alerts, and support and administrative messages and otherwise facilitate your use of, and our administration and operation of, the Service;
  • to notify you about important changes to our Service and our terms and policies;
  • to develop, test or improve speech recognition technology and artificial intelligence algorithms and for other research and development or data analysis purposes; and
  • for any other purpose for which the information was collected, as identified at the time of collection.

We may store and process personal information in the United States and other countries.
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:

  • with vendors, consultants, and other service providers (“Service Providers”) who need access to such information to carry out their work for us, such as vendors who assist us in providing the Service, in developing, testing and improving speech recognition technology and artificial intelligence algorithms or in conducting research and development;

  • when you give us your consent to do so, including if we notify you in connection with the Service that the information you provide will be shared in a particular manner and you provide such information;

  • in an aggregated or anonymized form that does not directly identify you or others;

  • 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; or (b) protect the rights, property, or safety of ToyTalk, our users, our employees, copyright owners, third parties or the public, to enforce or apply this Policy, our Terms of Use, or our other policies or agreements.

    ToyTalk Privacy Policy

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

 

That last bullet point 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”. Specialist on privacy issues have recommended scrapping the doll – which is scheduled to be available in store in fall, just in time for Christmas.

“If I had a young child, I would be very concerned that my child’s intimate conversations with her doll were being recorded and analyzed,” Angela Campbell, faculty adviser at Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology, said in a statement. “Children confide in their dolls,” she said. “When children have conversations with dolls and stuffed animals, they’re playing, and they reveal a lot about themselves.”
– Op cit. Washington Post.

While people at Mattel assure that the information collected will only be used to “improve the product”, it is obvious that Hello Barbie could be easily intercepted by all kinds of agencies such as the NSA.

Children often confide their most private thoughts to their favorite doll. Recording that stuff and sending it to a mega-corporation’s server is simply creepy and exploitative. It is yet another mind-boggling way of turning our society into an insidious, Big-Brotherish nightmare. Time to say goodbye to Hello Barbie.

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guagua

Hello Barbie : CIA Edition!

Mario

Best reply yet! LOL Most citizens are ignorant to the seriousness of crimes and VICTIMIZATION… Until something violates or abuses them in their lives! Wake Up World!

sandyf

Smartphones are just as bad as this spying device

Indahnesia

I hate regular barbie doll & I hate this even more, will never let anyone give my sister this kind of doll

I thought smart TV that record our conversation is the worst until I saw this, god bless our children

Skipper

Nothing new. Surveillance devices are all around us.

Tee

Any parent who buys this crap needs to have their head examined! Too far doesn't even begin to describe this!!! Outrageous

4nonymou5

No different than using Galaxy or Siri… or, for that matter the internet in general

Christmas

Creepy

Mario

This device needs to be Gender Identity friendly and be installed in G.I.Joe dolls and other such toys the same! Transgender kids experience incest too!

maciej

All dolls are weird, why ppl do not buy old toys without any mechanic element like…lego, puzzles etc.?
when i was 7-8 i was so happy when i got the puzzles on 24th December, and now kids are happy on facebook and adult games. I think i understand the radical islam to these things [ against sexual west civilization ]. But i am against burka and hijab, wearing this for gods or husband or for laws – ridiculous.

aprilla

My kid loves to play with her legos. I'm jealous because they have lots of stuff now that they didn't have when I was a kid.

BluBoy

The Conjuring? anyone lol.

On another note VC please do an article on Prince Andrew and American Jewish Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein and how they used a woman named Virginia Roberts as a sex slave (Beta kitten?) who was underage at the time and also various other women. She was recruited by a lady named Ghislaine Maxwell (The daughter of newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell) She has filed a case against them and I've been reading about this story….Interesting stuff.

fleurdamour

Barbie started life as a German comic strip called Bild Lili featuring a shapely secretary who didn't say no to "dates" with rich old men. It inspired a doll that was sold as a gag gift to adults. Then it got imported to America and was aimed at little girls. Sordid.

wtf

Wow!!

Andy

Jewish would make a quick buck out of anything. Jews imported the comic persona, a prostitute. I wouldn't expect anything better out of them. Let's not forget that the German gentiles were very popular among the German Jews as Germans are generally speaking attractive and their own broad is not.

BluBoy

Thanx for the info Fleur, didn't know that

burbia

I'm sorry, i don't know where to replace the battery, youll just have to play with it anyway.

dux

This technology is purely demonic and from hell thanks VC for being the watchman on the wall.

ann

I read this article to my ten year old who still loves Barbies. After explaining, pointing out the negative aspects, and using the word 'creepy', I asked her if she wanted one…
She said – yes!!

SMH… my oh my.

All of this makes me want to never let her out of my sight.

Society, and these toys, and tv, and music, and almost everything is trying so hard to corrupt my child.
And it seems its just me against a world of hell to teach and direct her well. Me against millions and billions -trying to show her reality.
Its so hard.

Soon, I'm afraid, she'll doubt me and listen to her little peers. From 4th grade, she's already bringing horrible stuff home… I am not looking forward to Middle or High school. I'm actually getting worried here n there as the awful media and privacy violations grow – that I won't be able to protect her.

.

Lisa

Pray

ncvc.

It's a terribly challenging time to be a parent, that is for sure. I don't think it's as easy to shelter them in a balanced way anymore, like it was with my childhood in the 80's.

sarah

Thats why we homeschool.

Thy Unveiling

Do one of you stay home? Is it expensive to do? I have so many questions about how it all works

happyslaves

My boyfriend loves all this stuff. He uses the google voice app on his phone and wants all of his email phone tv bank account and everything linked up together under one email. He also loves mainstream entertainment, soda, fast food, pron etc. So bizarre how I ended up with my polar opposite, but the point is, I can attest that there are people out there who welcome the New World Order with open arms. They are slaves and loving every minute of it!

happyslaves

…And you will never convince them otherwise.

TeamJesus

I hate to say my 6 yr old daughter would love this too smh. but i would NEVER buy something like this EVER

ann

I just found out
our school district is implementing GPS tracking system
on every bus AND
every child's 'special' ID they must wear.

Sigh……

Thy Unveiling

That is the most terrifying thing yet! Homeschooling definitely seems the way to go! I just don't know if its an option for many parents due to the financial aspects.Public schools essentially are a free babysitter so parents can work to make money.

UmmChummu

And they take advantage that so many need to use the school system as a babysitter.

ann

I don't think I can homeschool my daughter. I have a college degree… but, I can't see how my ten yr old and I could ever sit down and 'study' together. It seems hard to me.

I'm wondering – these GPS trackers being placed on every child and every bus… wondering – since children are the school's responsibility as soon as they step on the bus, until stepping off at the day's end —
Can they leave these Trackers ON the bus when done?

Do the trackers have an off button ? I'll leave my daughters tracker somewhere by the bus stop then. Not bringing it into our home.

.

belin

WHAT CITY WHAT SCHOOL????!! omg

Mike

Besides the info being collected, its also disturbing that the AI server algorithms could potentially be programmed to respond in a way that shapes the child's outlook. What's next professor Barbie? Especially given all the evidence provided by this site that shows how the culture creation industry is trying to turn innocent little children into promiscuous degenerates.

ZZZ

Read 1984 by George Orwell.

DarkStarAz

Creepiest VC article I've ever read.

karenO

Hello Barbie, you DID NOT have me at hello! GTH Mattel!

downardevotee

Check out the twilight language on Barbie's t-shirt: hell 3 times, it's like an incantation!

You only love skim

It says hello. Muppet.

belin

obviously, but the word is partly HELL

trthnfrdm

So wrong on so many levels! NSA, HSA, CIA! Not to mention pedo hackers! All I can think of is the last scene of Eyes Wide Shut, when the daughter picks up the packaged Barbie in the toy store and the mother gives her a cold indifferent acknowledgement.

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