US senator wants to make sure the FTC takes smart toys seriously

It’s not just parents that are worrying about the security of connected toys. Senator Mark Warner has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission grilling it about efforts to protect kids’ privacy when they use smart toys like the CloudPets you see above. He’s particularly worried that FTC Acting Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen is shrugging off concerns about how companies handle kids’ data. In recent statements, she argued that the FTC should focus on “objective, concrete harms,” such as financial damage or health risks — toy data leaks might not fit under that bill.

Warner’s questions touch on a few subjects. In addition to Ohlhausen’s remarks, the Senator is interested in whether or not the FTC has responded to both the CloudPets and My Friend Cayla privacy incidents. He also wants to know if the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) needs an upgrade to “keep pace” with modern security.

There’s no guarantee that Warner will get the answers he wants, let alone promises that the FTC is taking toy data privacy seriously. Although he’s on the Senate committee handling consumer protection (Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs), the letter isn’t binding. And the FTC, like other agencies in the current US administration, is limiting its regulatory scope.

With that said, there are hints that he might find a receptive audience. Ohlhausen’s same statements acknowledge that data leaks can hurt beyond just financial info. She notes that the Ashley Madison hack led to people committing suicide after their infidelity was made public, and that snippets of seemingly innocuous info can violate your privacy when they’re pieced together. The agency head may decide that connected toys are problematic simply because the potential consequences of a hack might be too severe to ignore.

Via: Nextgov

Source: Senator Mark Warner

Source: Engadget - Read the full article here

Author: Daily Tech Whip

This article is part of our 'News Tiles' service. The site is currently in Beta. When it is fully operational you will be able to search through and arrange the 'Tiles' to display a keyword, product or technology over your chosen time period. For example you would be able to display all of the leading tech articles on the new Kindle Fire, in one spot in real time. You will also have access to our own original reporting and analysis as well as a polished place to post your own thoughts & reviews here, amongst the Daily Tech Whip Community. Please let us know if you have any feedback via the contact form or via Twitter. Don't forget to come back next week and see our full site and claim your name and your own free tech blog.

Share This Post On