Sen. Warner Seeks FTC Answers on Questionable Internet-Connected Toys

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) wants to know what the Federal Trade Commission is doing about so-called smart toys that collect information from kids.

Warner sent a letter to the FTC in the wake of reports that such a toy (CloudPets) had stored information in an insecure, public-facing database, including more than two million voice recordings between parents and their children.

Warner sent a similar letter to the FTC a year ago, under former chairwoman Edith Ramirez, expressing concern about interconnected-connected toys.

In the second letter, this time to current chair Maureen Ohlhausen, Warner said his concern was growing, citing CloudPets, including reports that some security researchers were unable to reach the toy's maker, Spiral Toys, about the potential vulnerabilities. 

Warner had some questions he wants answered, including:

Does the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act data security standards need updating; does the FTC need added authority over remote storage of children's personal information; can the FTC require recalls of insecure products sold in the U.S.; has the FTC been in contact with CloudPets and, if not, why not. Warner also wants to know if the FTC has followed up on complaints lodged by privacy groups against internet-connected toy My Friend Cayla.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) had also asked about the toy.

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.