Attorney General Bondi warns parents about internet-connected toys

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By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 14, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Attorney General Pam Bondi is urging parents to be cautious when buying internet-connected toys for their children over the holiday season.

AG Bondi lists toys such as dolls that speak with children and smart watches that contain GPS tracking technology as products to be cautious of.

"When shopping for children's presents, safety should be the top priority," Bondi said. "I urge parents to be cautious of any toy that could collect and share a child's sensitive information.

Such toys may collect children's personal information, including their address, age, location, name, pictures and voice data.

Bondi listed the following steps consumers should take before purchasing smart toys this holiday season:

  • Research for reported security issues using online resources from sites that conduct cyber security research, consumer product reviews and child and consumer advocacy
  • Only connect and use toys in environments with trusted and secured Wi-Fi internet access
  • Look into the toy's internet and device connection security measures. Check if the toy uses authentication when pairing the device with Bluetooth or uses encryption when transmitting data from the toy to the Wi-Fi access point and to the server or cloud
  • Find out if toys can receive firmware or software updates and security patches. If so, ensure the toys are running on the most updated versions and that any available patches are implemented
  • Check where user data is stored - with the company, third party services or both - and whether any publicly available reporting exists on the company's reputation for cyber security
  • Carefully read disclosures and private policies from company and any third parties.

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