Microsoft’s new Cortana personal assistant platform carries privacy concerns that prevent it from being used by children – but Redmond appears to not be alone in its pre-pubescent banishment. Redmond said that the voice-activated search tool in its mobile platform currently carries a minimum age requirement of 13 years, which is checked against the age data in user profiles. If the current user is under 13, Cortana will refuse to answer queries.
Microsoft Cortana, a voice activated virtual assistant for Windows Phone 8.1 named after Halo’s AI character, will not talk to kids. Like Apple’s Siri on iPhone, Cortana’s speech recognition allows users to ask it questions and perform specific tasks. Cortana also collects data on users in the process in order to improve the experience over time, meaning it is subject to the US government’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). COPPA’s policies insure that children under the age of 13 can’t share information online without the approval of a parent. According to GameSpot sister site CNET, at this point in development Cortana doesn’t have any parental controls, so if you’re listed as being younger than 13 on your Microsoft account and try to use Cortana, she’ll respond with, “I’m sorry, you’ll need to be bit older before I can help you.”