The Hello Barbie dolls Mattel is now making are equipped with software that can record conversations people around it have. The doll is always on, recording. The fact that it records everything that goes on around it is stated by the company, and it is supposedly so that parents can listen to conversations had by their child with the doll or with someone else whilst being around the doll.
While that is kind of creepy without any other things said, the dolls can also be hacked. This gives the hacker access to all the data on the doll, which is not only the recordings, but, according to one person who hacked a Barbie doll, Wi-Fi network names, its internal mac address, and account IDs.
Now, I don’t know what any of that is except for the recordings and Wi-Fi network names, but I know that people other than the owners or parents will have access to information that they shouldn’t have.
I don’t agree with spying on your children in the first place, since that isn’t really the sort of thing that builds trusting relationships, but if the doll’s data can be accessed remotely by people who aren’t the children’s parents, it’s even worse. Overall, I think it was a simply awful idea. Now, Google and the NSA are working on toys that have recording devices and cameras. Who knows what all this will lead to!
I never trusted dolls anyway.