The list of internet-connected toys has taken another leap forward as we head towards Christmas but it is important to check what you are bringing into your home, says Tom Bale, the Business Development and Technical Director at Logicalis CI.
“No one wants to rain on the Christmas parade and it can be a tough call, especially for parents when their children are clammering for the latest gadgets, but the fact is that these toys are still collecting your data and we should all be a bit careful about their use and level of security.
“We do have to ask ourselves, first of all, what the value of an internet-enabled teddy bear is and, more importantly, what data is it recording and where is that being stored and shared – and have you checked. It’s easy to believe that the manufacturers will have built in safety checks but privacy is not always their first priority and some of the items are simply not secure,” said Tom.
It can be quite hard for people to check those kinds of details, to know what they mean and how you can protect yourself, said Tom, but there are non-profit organisations, like Mozilla, which can help people make choices which don’t compromise their privacy or bring online ‘spies’ into their home.
“People should be looking out for easy to read privacy policies and the use of encryption on the data collected when they are thinking of buying these kinds of gifts. They’re the kind of thing that is bought on a bit of whim without thinking about the consequences. This is the bad tech equivalent of ‘a puppy is not just for Christmas’,” said Tom.