The German Federal Network Agency advises consumers to be particularly careful when buying intelligent toys or connected gadgets during the Christmas season. These may violate consumers' privacy by hidden recordings of audio or video data and transmitting them to another receiver unit.
The following products are especially problematic:
Smart Toys: Toys, that can secretly record and forward audio and visual data (such as robots controllable via app, talking dolls or connected cuddly toys), are classified as spying devices in Germany and are therefore banned .
Smartwatches for children: Selling children's watches is prohibited if they also have a monitoring function in addition to a restricted phone service controlled via app.
Intelligent speakers: Generally, speakers that can receive and forward commands by means of language recognition are allowed. However, it must be apparent and controllable when such recordings take place. Also, consumers must be informed that such data will be transmitted to the manufacturer or to other companies.
Jochen Homann, president of the German Federal Network Agency, commented: "Such devices that hide broadcastable cameras or microphones endanger consumers' privacy. These wireless transmitters are prohibited. Especially during Christmas time connected children's toys are in high demand. We warn consumers against spying devices and advise them to check the exact functionality before buying."
Source: German Federal Network Agency