"Hello, Barbie" eavesdrops on kids, sends what it hears to Mattel

barbie

Mattel's new "Hello Barbie" will "learn about its users over time." How? By recording what the child says and sending it to servers operated by ToyTalk (the company that makes the doll's voice-dictation technology), reports the Washington Post.

Children will doubtless be thrilled to learn that the doll can also forward audio of whatever it hears to the parents.

Mattel's comment to the Post:

"Mattel is committed to safety and security, and Hello Barbie conforms to applicable government standards," Mattel said in a statement.

Heh heh. In the post-Snowden period, citing "applicable government standards" as the moral floor below which one cannot sink -- when you're crafting a surveillance toy -- is not super reassuring.

(Note:That picture of Barbie is just a rando model from the past, not an actual "Hello Barbie" model. The CC-2.0-licensed photo is courtesy Tracheotomy Bob!)