Over 2 million conversations between children and parents that were recorded by Bluetooth-enabled stuffed animals sold by CloudPets have leaked, alongside details including email addresses and passwords. The data had been stored in a public-facing database, which many people then found online. A minimum of 821,000 users were affected.
This is perhaps the first major leak of children’s voices recorded by toys, but not the first warning of the security implications. In 2015, a campaign aimed to raise awareness of security concerns posed by Mattel’s ‘Hello Barbie’ doll was signed by over 30,000.
From talking dolls to talking cars, our world is becoming increasingly interactive. The rapid rise of the Internet of Things (cloud-connected objects) promises advantages for lifestyles, with elements tailored to personal preferences, optimised for efficiency, and even enabling more sustainable behaviours. Far behind the technology is awareness of the risks and the implementation of systems to counter these. Who will take a lead, and who needs to be involved?