Germany Wants To Destroy Cayla The Talking Doll
With a hammer.
Hey, remember that doll Cayla — the one that asks its owners simple questions, records those questions and then does something shady with the information, like send it back to the mothership so they can do…something with it. Nothing good, really. At all.
The clear-eyed Germans have seen Cayla for what she really is — a surveillance device that must be destroyed. The Wall Street Journal reports that after a long investigation into Cayla, Germany’s Federal Network (also known as Bundesnetzagentur) has issued an order for all parents to find the doll and destroy her.
Germany doesn’t really fuck around when it comes to matters of personal security and surveillance, given its past and so Cayla’s odd habit of storing personal data about children — who will very eagerly give that data to the doll because it’s a freaking doll — and sending it to somewhere to be used for something bad raised some red flags.
Parents who ignore the order to destroy Cayla could face a fine of up to €25,000, about $26,500, and two years in prison under paragraph 90 of Germany’s telecommunications law. On its website, the agency posted a template for a destruction certificate that should be filled in, signed by a waste-management company, and sent to the agency as proof of destruction.
Internet connected toys are a thing these days but Bundesnetzagentur has made a very important distinction about what kind of toys they want to ban. It’s not just that the toys are connected to the internet and can record information — it’s the ones that are deceptive about what they’re doing that are the real problem.
According to the Journal they banned a panda bear with a camera hidden in its nose that connected to a mobile phone. There was also a toy robot that had an internet-ready camera hidden in its head, behind a black visor. Other toys that are internet connected but don’t conceal the fact that they’re recording were allowed to live. Cayla, however, must be destroyed — or donated to the German Spy Museum Berlin, which is collecting Caylas to be preserved for future generations as a warning, I guess.
There are many fun and exciting toys on the market that don’t record personal information! Get those instead.
Support The Billfold