Markey Wants Info on Internet-Linked Toys

Sen. Ed Markey  (D-Mass.) wants toy maker Genesis Toys and voice recognition technology developer Nuance Communications to fill him in on what data they collect from children via two internet-connected toys, the My Friend Cayla doll and i-Que Intelligent Robot.

That comes the same day that Consumers Union, the Center for Digital Democracy and other groups filed complaints at the FTC alleging the toys violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which Markey motormanned as a House member.

In letters to both Nuance and Genesis, Markey cited reports that the toys collect that information without sufficiently notifying parents or obtaining their consent, as COPPA requires.

Related: Privacy Groups Take Aim at Internet Toys

“Given the sensitive nature of children’s recorded speech, I believe that Genesis Toys and Nuance must take responsible steps to protect children’s privacy and comply with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA),” Markey said.

Markey wants answers to a bunch of questions -- Do they share or sell info about kids 12 and younger? To whom COPPA applies? Or how they protect online privacy? -- by Jan. 3.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.