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Friday, March 20, 2015

Hello Barbie Invades the Privacy of Children

The newest version of Barbie has an extra feature: voice recognition. To children, it is a fun way to play with dolls, but for some adults, it gathers unnecessary information.

During a presentation for Hello Barbie, a speaker talks to the doll about her interests. At one point, she told Barbie that she liked being onstage. Later, she asked what she should be when she grows up. "Well, you told me you liked being onstage," replied Barbie. "So maybe a dancer?"

Many children's rights organizations are against the toy because it seems to work off of children's personal interests and information. Some say that the company never said what they're using the information for, and that they could be using it for themselves.

ToyTalk is the company that made Hello Barbie do what it does, which is speak appropriately for what a child tells them. They say that the Barbie is only made to support the play experience for kids, not to find out about secrets.

The company says that they are able to keep Barbie up to date by pushing new data onto her using a cloud. The company will also be able to have Barbie talk appropriately by remembering what the child told her. They say that this will make Barbie a child's best friend.


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