The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (the ODPC) has released a guidance note on connected toys (the Guidance Note). The Guidance Note highlights the possible data protection issues that might occur when children and parents use toys with microphones and cameras that have an ability to connect to the internet.

The ODPC warns of certain potential issues with the personification of connected toys, in particular dolls. Some of these toys provide an interactive experience by reacting to selected words. This may give the impression of an emotional response to what the child says or does. In some instances, these toys are enabled to collect and record these “conversations” between the child and the connected toy on apps, smartphones or tablets. The ODPC cautions that some of these connected toys’ terms and conditions allow these potentially sensitive recordings to be shared with other companies and used for the basis of targeted advertising.

The Guidance lists some helpful things to look out for when purchasing a connected toy such as (i) details on what information the toy will be collecting e.g. the child’s voice, certain words or phrases, photographs, or video, (ii) clear information on how to use the sensors and (iii) data security information.

For the full list of things to look out for please see the Guidance Note here.