Smartwatches For Kids Banned In Germany Over Privacy Concerns

Mindy Sparks
November 18, 2017

The agency's actions reflect growing concerns about the security and privacy risks associated with the exploding number of smart gadgets, often called the "internet of things".

Germany's telecoms regulator said on 17 November that it was banning the sale of "smart watches" that can be used by parents to check on their children, saying the devices violated Germany's strict surveillance laws.

One expert said the decision could be a "game-changer" for internet-connected devices. Jochen Homann, the agency's president, said today, "Via an app, parents can use such children's watches to listen unnoticed to the child's environment and they are to be regarded as an unauthorised transmitting system".

The agency asked educators to pay attention to students' smartwatches because parents can listen to the teachers in classrooms through the transmission of information.

On Friday, the Federal Network Agency said its already cracking down on sales of the smartwatches built with the listening function, which are generally targeted to children ages 5 to 12. The watches usually have a sim card and are controlled through an app, and have what the FNA described as a "baby monitor" or "monitor function" to allow the watch to be used as a listening device.

Furthermore, in line with its earlier response to "My Friend Cayla", the Federal Network Agency is encouraging parents to destroy such smartwatches used by their children and encouraging schools to be vigilant when it comes to kids' watches.

It meant that strangers, using basic hacking techniques, could track children as they moved or make a child appear to be in a completely different location.

Even if today's ban didn't center around security issues, security researchers are happy about the decision either way.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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