SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) —
Toy makers and sellers often remind customers that batteries are not included, but seldom do you see a warning that privacy may be at risk.
Recently outside of a toy store, 7 On Your Side’s Michael Finney told a consumer named Sidney George about the issue. “Sometimes toys and other products keep track of what you are saying and doing.” Finney said.
“That is so creepy, I don’t like that at all. I had no idea that was a thing, oh, my goodness,” Sidney said.
She’s not alone because many consumers don’t know that some toys and gadgets come with privacy concerns built in. The San Francisco nonprofit, Mozilla, which is dedicated to a fast and safe Internet for consumers and has put out a toy buying guide, called ‘Privacy not included’.
Paul Johnson is with Mozilla and showed Finney a rubber duck that is in the guide. “It connects through your smartphone, it tracks your location. It doesn’t have a microphone and it doesn’t have a camera, but it could theoretically know when you are taking a bath,” He said.
He acknowledges that it may seem harmless, but points out other devices are potentially keeping track of much more. Fore instance, Dash the robot is connected to the Internet and has a microphone and the Amazon Echo Show is like Amazon’s Virtual assistant, Alexa, on steroids. It has a microphone, a camera and is always listening.
Paul told Finney he used the device during a recent family gathering. “We searched recipes and that was fun for the family, but when we sat down for dinner we decided to unplug them. that was the right call for our family because we have private conversations that we don’t want shared with the world, or the cloud or whatever.”
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