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Privacy Security

Germany Bans Children's Smartwatches (bbc.com) 44

A German regulator has banned the sale of smartwatches aimed at children, describing them as spying devices. From a report: It had previously banned an internet-connected doll called, My Friend Cayla, for similar reasons. Telecoms regulator the Federal Network Agency urged parents who had such watches to destroy them. One expert said the decision could be a "game-changer" for internet-connected devices. "Poorly secured smart devices often allow for privacy invasion. That is really concerning when it comes to kids' GPS tracking watches - the very watches that are supposed to help keep them safe," said Ken Munro, a security expert at Pen Test Partners.
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Germany Bans Children's Smartwatches

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 17, 2017 @11:23AM (#55570101)
    I'm more worried that someone will figure out a way to make the smartwatches emit an ultrasonic tone audible only to kids below the age of 13 that contains subliminal messages instructing the kids to kill all adults, starting with their parents. And then form a kids-only kidocracy and the world would fall apart because let's face it, kids would probably only care about playing video games and eating candy.
    • ^ Lord of the Flies goes for global domination

      that would be scary
      • by gnick ( 1211984 )

        More like 'Children of the Corn' than 'Lord of the Flies'. Who could have guessed that 'He who walks behind the rows' would be digital?

  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @11:31AM (#55570157)
    I think it is only fair that age of consent rules should apply to getting sodomized by an insecure IoT.
    • They don't apply, and it's the parents who should and are consenting. This is just more of the German penchant for authoritarianism.
  • "Go ahead, that's more for me! My girlfriends think they're great!"
  • How much do they cost? No refunds available I guess...

  • No kid is more safe due to a smartwatch, but it makes mom and dad feel better. This enables and enforces fear mongering by the population. It is a false sense of security for mom and dad to a problem that is smaller today than at anytime in the past. In fact, it is usually mom or dad that kidnaps the child in the first place. Child abduction rates are down over the ages, especially when one considers the growth of the population over this same time. [freerangekids.com] [freerangekids.com]

    --
    "I'd like a truck" - Kid to San

  • That's The Point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @12:17PM (#55570471)

    Of course they're spying devices. That's the whole bloody point.

    Children are a six-figure investment these days. One that moves on two legs and isn't wholly rational. So keeping tabs on where they are and giving them the means to call for help is a very big deal to some people.

    • your point has a point, that is very pointed, i agree, a parent with an active or over-active or especially a hyperactive kid would find a use for an electronic gadget that lets the parent track them maybe if it sent a ping with a GPS coordinate every 30 seconds or every minute and the parent can track the kid by a PC, tablet or smartphone that would be nice especially overlayed on google maps and accurate within just a few feet
      • When I was a kid, I got on my bike and simply had to be back before the street lights came on at night. Doing that today will result in a visit from the authorities for failing to properly care for your kids. And long before you get to that, plenty of family would be worried the kid got picked up and molested five minutes after they left home.

        Putting a GPS tracker on a kid means you can let them have a bit more freedom a bit earlier while still keeping the paranoid adults a bit calmer.

        Trackers today will

      • All that in one sentence?

    • Of course they're spying devices. That's the whole bloody point.

      Children are a six-figure investment these days. One that moves on two legs and isn't wholly rational. So keeping tabs on where they are and finding out what motivates them so you can make them buy junk irrationally is a very big deal to some people.

      FTFY

    • is a very big deal to some people.. YEA, Parents!! They have to fork out the money!
    • by slick7 ( 1703596 )

      Of course they're spying devices. That's the whole bloody point.

      Children are a six-figure investment these days. One that moves on two legs and isn't wholly rational. So keeping tabs on where they are and giving them the means to call for help is a very big deal to some people.

      The Germans used children to spy on their parents in the 40's. Brainwashed children are more reliable than some stupid "smart watch", mechanical devices are susceptible to failure or unwanted manipulation. Not so with the human brain, it will be fucked up for a really long time.

  • Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Friday November 17, 2017 @12:26PM (#55570547)

    IOW parents are now forced to give their kids a more expensive Apple iWatch.
    Good job, lobbyists!

  • Only those watches are banned that have a limited telephony function, with which the children (and also other people in its presence - like teachers, playmates, maybe even you) could also be monitored acoustically (this interception function will then be referred to as a "baby monitor" or "monitor function").

    Remotely activated mobile phone (or watch) microphones are classified as illegal listening devices by Germany's Authority for Telecommunications, as Germany punishes "violations of the privacy of the sp

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