FTC Provides Guidance on Voice Recordings and Kids

The Federal Trade Commission has clarified how the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act applies to toys that make voice recordings of children. The Commission's enforcement policy statement stated that an audio file may only be used "as a replacement for written words," and may only be maintained "for the brief time necessary for that purpose." Additionally, "the operator may not make any other use of the audio file in the brief period before the file is destroyed — for example, for behavioral targeting or profiling purposes." EPIC has supported efforts by consumer groups to warn of the risks smart toys pose to childhood development. Last year, a coalition of consumer groups pursued a complaint about My Friend Cayla, an Internet connected toy that recorded the private conversations of children. The complaint spurred a Congressional investigation and the toy was recalled in Europe.

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