If you don’t know by now, companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft and countless others use your data to target advertising to you. This is pretty common practice: your webmail has tracking cookies, and your browsers have them too. Now Mattel is introducing Hello Barbie, their new “interactive” doll that children can talk to. Hello Barbie asks the child questions to which the child then responds. Those responses are then sent via Wi-Fi to Toytalk who saves the information for “future use”.
“If I had a young child, I would be very concerned that my child’s intimate conversations with her doll were being recorded and analyzed. In Mattel’s demo, Barbie asks many questions that would elicit a great deal of information about a child, her interests, and her family. This information could be of great value to advertisers and be used to market unfairly to children.”
“Kids using ‘Hello Barbie’ won’t only be talking to a doll, they’ll be talking directly to a toy conglomerate whose only interest in them is financial. It’s creepy — and creates a host of dangers for children and families.”
Gizmodo did manage to get a statement from Mattel who says they will not be using the information collected from Hello Barbie to sell products or services to anyone and the information will remain secure. While it is somewhat reassuring that Mattel is saying this, you can also see the concern from some that the information could be used in the future for targeted advertising. I suppose the best thing to do to avoid this is just not buy Hello Barbie. What do you think of Hello Barbie? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.
Featured image courtesy konbini.com