In Germany, the Federal Network Agency has just banned the sale of the connected Doll “My friend Cayla”, because of loopholes in the security of the data. A decision that highlights the possible drifts around connected, more and more toys.
Designed by Genesis Toys brand, Cayla is a pretty 46 cm doll that looks like all the others. Small feature: thanks to sensors, it is connected via bluetooth to an app, loaded on smartphone or tablet. The child can play with her at the games included in the app, ask him to tell a story, browse a photo album… According to behealthybytomorrow, Cayla can also answer questions on many topics (country, animals, math…),.
A problem of data security
Which is a problem, it’s that Cayla would present vulnerabilities in the security of access to the collected data. In France, the UFC than choose already gave the alert, in a statement released December 6, 2016, on its website, on “gaps for the security of the personal data of commercial children of the”My friend Cayla”doll.” Indeed, no access code is required to connect to the doll, which implies, says the press release, that “one third located 20 meters, including through a concrete wall, can connect to the toy by bluetooth, and hear what the child.» Worse, a third party can take control of the toy, and communicate with the child through the voice of the toy. “Found another flaw: the doll would be able to collect the data to transfer them for advertising purposes.
A possible ad targetingtoy
For the German authorities Cayla goes too far. Referred to as “spy Doll”, she is accused of threatening the privacy of children, and to subject them to a possible ad targeting. The Federal Network Agency has banned its sale on the territory. “The doll Cayla is banned in Germany. He is talking about the protection of the weakest of our society,”said in a statement, the president of the Agency, Jochen Homann.
The German distributor of the doll, Vivid, decided to challenge that decision in court, arguing that “the Cayla doll is not a spy and it can be used safely by following the operating instructions.”