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Smartwatches For Kids Are a Total Privacy Nightmare ( 35

An anonymous reader shares a report: Kids' smartwatches are usually intended to help parents feel at ease that their children are safe when they're not around. But as it turns out, a number of these devices may do more harm than good. A 49-page report on smartwatches for children details all the ways in which they are a security nightmare. The report (PDF), conducted by the Norwegian Consumer Council (NCC) and European security firm Mnemonic, analyzed four kids' smartwatches -- Gator 2, Tinitell, Viksfjord, and Xplora. According the NCC's report, two of the aforementioned devices were vulnerable to hackers, affording them the ability to remotely control the apps on the device. Through a breached device, the NCC says a hacker could access information on a child's whereabouts in real-time, uncover their personal information, and even communicate with the child. What's more, one of the devices could allow someone "with some technical knowledge" to discreetly listen to the child's surroundings. Beyond these gross invasions of privacy, the Council said certain key features of these devices -- an SOS button and a feature that alerts parents when kids leave virtual boundaries -- were unreliable. The report also notes issues regarding collecting user data -- only one of the product's terms and services allowed parents to opt in to or out of data collection. And one watch, the Xplora app, gave up children's data to marketers, the NCC said.
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Smartwatches For Kids Are a Total Privacy Nightmare

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  • by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @02:04PM (#55404787)

    Oh wait....

  • ...I bet pedo's are giving these smartwatches away for free everywhere now.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    so give them phonez. new phonez!

    catapult: slurp

  • Just don't let Pennywise on the Interwebs.

    Problem solved.

  • Go one step back (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kohlrabi82 ( 1672654 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @02:14PM (#55404879)

    Smartwatches are a "total privacy nightmare" because they enable parents to spy on their kids.

    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      Parents should be paying attention to what their kids are doing, especially younger kids. Can I assume you're also the first to scream "parental responsibility!" whenever there's a story about kids playing excessively violent games or watching online porn or whatever?

  • by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @02:23PM (#55404953)
    Can we prosecute the hackers for child porn if we catch them with a few minutes of particularly sensitive accelerometer data?
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @02:29PM (#55404993) Journal

    ...I don't mean for the kids, I mean for the parents.

    I've had 4 kids in their 20s now, and one of the hardest parts about parenting is understanding that these wonderful, exciting, challenging little creeps for which you feel more love than you could have ever previously imagined...need to live their own lives. Away from you, your sight, and the 24/7 concern you have for their well-being.

    The world really isn't full of rabid dogs in every park, sexual predators around every corner, terrorists in every airplane, or thugs in every city. It feels that way sometimes, but it really isn't.

    Just because you don't know where they are at this moment doesn't mean they're using drugs or getting murdered.

    Teach them everything you can about the world and being responsible and smart. And then let them grow up, and get the fuck out of their way.

    If you're like most parents, you'll never stop worrying about them. That's fine, that's your job. But as a parent who holds THEIR well-being above your own, you can't let your self-indulgent worry destroy their ability to be actualized people themselves. Grow up - and learn to keep that crap to yourself. Let them enjoy being them.

  • When I was a child, I let my first electronic watch go through the laundry several times. It took about three times through our washing machine before the watch was totally dead.

    If your washing machine can destroy the watch like ours did, then there should be no concern of privacy.

    Now, if the washing machine is a IOT smart appliance and it detects that the smartwatch is in the load, then that is a whole other discussion.

    I was fortunate, the washing machine my parents had in the 70's was not an IOT dev

  • After doing some research my wife and I ended up getting two LG GizmoPal 2 watches for our kids: []

    They're bascially dumbphones they can wear on their wrist. We can call them(and even auto-answer if they're not picking up), and they can call us. There are only 4 phone numbers that can call in or out, so no telemarketer spam. There's GPS tracking too, which is spotty but generally good enough. And since they're dumbphones they stay charged all week. They have some fund

    • Now I'm not saying the dumbwatches can't be hacked...but it's a lot more work without internet access!

      Is the tracking feature SMS-based? Because SMS is horribly, terribly vulnerable. An attacker who could figure out that your kid had one of these devices and knew where you lived could probably identify their device and track your child given a bit of time. Probably not a realistic concern for most people, but automated tools to do that could be created and sold.

  • Why kids? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @02:41PM (#55405097) Journal
    In what way smart watches for adults less of a nightmare?
    • by Altrag ( 195300 )

      Because we've collectively decided that adult privacy isn't worth protecting. Or more precisely, advertisers and the politicians they've bought have decided that for us. This was decided long before the interwebs was even a common thing, for that matter.. old school unsolicited snail mail worked much like modern spammers, just on a smaller and slower scale, including buying and selling peoples' personal information.

      Frankly, I doubt we'd worry about child privacy protection or children's susceptibility to

  • And just how are these devices any different than all the other IoT devices that phone home tons of personal information about you and your surroundings to their real owners (the manufacturers) so that they can mine it, sell it, and push ads to you based off it?
    • heck if somebody comes out with a Teddy Ruxpin 4.0 then it had better have a hardware auth key controlling access to the data streams.

      the possibilities would make PennyWise catch the NOPE TRAIN and Pinhead would be driving the train.

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