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Watchdog bans My Friend Cayla doll in Germany over fears it is a spying device

Watchdog bans My Friend Cayla doll in Germany over fears it is a spying device

The My Friend Cayla doll has been banned in Germany over fears that is a concealed transmitting device.

Parents have been urged to disable the interactive toy by the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) which enforces bans on surveillance devices.

The agency’s president, Jochen Homann, said in a statement: “Items that conceal cameras or microphones and that are capable of transmitting a signal, and therefore can transmit data without detection, compromise people’s privacy.

“This applies in particular to children’s toys. The Cayla doll has been banned in Germany. This is also to protect the most vulnerable
in our society.”

The doll is manufactured by US-based Genesis Toys and is distributed by Vivid Toy group.

The agency added: “Anything the child says or other people’s conversations can be recorded and transmitted without the parents’ knowledge. A company could also use the toy to advertise directly to the child or the parents.”

The Federal Network Agency has also said it will inspect other interactive toys and, if necessary, will take further action.

The My Friend Cayla Doll.
(David Parry/PA)

“In this respect, the requirements of section 90 of the German Telecommunications Act must be met,” it adds.

Meanwhile, in a statement to BBC News, UK Toy Retailers Association said Cayla “offers no special risk” and that “there is no reason for alarm”.

Genesis Toys did not immediately respond to request for comment.