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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Toys and Games

FBI issues privacy warning for your connected toys

Gone are the days when you only had to worry about accidental ingestion.

In 2015, researchers found security flaws in Mattel's talking Hello Barbie. Software manufacturers raced to patch her up.

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

We need to be smarter about smart toys, the FBI warned in a consumer notice issued Tuesday. 

The growing number of sensors, microphones, cameras, speech recognition and GPS capabilities in modern toys provide a wealth of information about their human playmates. And that doesn't even include potentially intrusive uses like cameras and mics that eavesdrop (and eyedrop?) when they're not actively being used.

The memo lays out a list of steps to take before connecting -- a long list that most people probably won't follow, including researching a company's stance on cybersecurity, reading privacy policies and researching where the data is stored.

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliance plan was updated in June to include protections from connected devices, so you've got some backup and a place to ask questions.