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Barbie is sending your child’s voice data to cloud servers

Barbie has had her fair share of controversies but this may be the first time that the popular children’s toy has been accused of spying. Mattel’s new “Hello Barbie” doll is designed so that it sends recordings of what children say to her to the cloud where voice detection technology processes the data. While this opens the doors to some truly awesome features, many privacy activists jumped on the products the moment it was released. 

Mattel’s new “Hello Barbie” has more tricks up her sleeve than just saying hello. With the press of a button, Barbie’s embedded microphone turns on and records the voice of the child playing with her. The recordings are then uploaded to a cloud server, where voice detection technology helps the doll make sense of the data. The result? An inquisitive Barbie who remembers your dog’s name and brings up your favorite hobbies in your next chitchat. The doll, which made her debut at the 2015 American International Toy Fair, has privacy activists demanding its removal. “Kids using Hello Barbie aren’t only talking to a doll,” said Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. “They are talking directly to a toy conglomerate whose only interest in them is financial.”

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