Cayla Doll

Why German Gov’t is Telling Parents to Destroy Cayla Dolls

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

Parents in Germany were given a seemingly unusual direction on this week as the country’s telecommunications department, the Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency), issued an order to completely destroy any Cayla dolls they might have, and the request was made clear that it is more than a recommendation — the doll is now forbidden.

the doll is now forbidden

So why is the Cayla doll’s fate so grim? It has to do with the dolls unique ‘smart’ features. Cayla dolls are equipped with a microphone that allows for it to provide answers to questions a kid may have. While at first it may seem like a logical progression of technology and toys, but when it comes to kids, there are privacy concerns that are proving to be fully warranted with this doll.

It has been said that the embedded bluetooth connection in the doll is insecure after researchers discovered the ease of hacking the doll to tap into the microphone.

This very concern is what led to the German government issuing the destruction order, citing not only its violation of child privacy laws but also German law that strictly prohibits the sale and possession of hidden surveillance devices. While the Bundesnetzagentur said that they do not plan on targeting parents who don’t comply — a violation that would normally come with up to two years in prison — it is said that a ‘proof of destruction’ will be available to parents who comply.

The US is also investigating the Cayla doll and its manufacturer, Genesis Toys, and is expected to reach a similar order on those in possession of the doll.

Sources: Bundesnetzagentur,  Sueddeutsche Zeitung

Photo: Genesis Toys

Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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