Technology expert, Antony Walker told politicians that high-tech children’s toys could be compromised by British intelligence agents and used to snoop on suspects.
The deputy CEO of technology trade association techUK, told the House of Commons science and technology committee that any device connected to the internet could be hacked by spies and then used to listen in.
Walker said: “In theory, the manufacturer of those products could be the subject of a warrant to enable equipment interference with those devices”.
Given the advance of smart technology, he claimed otherwise innocuous toys could become tools for those who wish to spy.
“A range of devices that have been in the news recently, in relation to a hack, are children’s toys that children can interact with.
“These are devices that may sit in a child’s bedroom but are accessible,” he added.
It is also thought that the government’s draft Investigatory Powers Bill, known by its detractors as the snoopers’ charter, could allow such methods to be used to observe suspects of crime or terrorism.
It is not only in Britain that fears of espionage operations affecting children have been raised recently.
Last Wednesday, the US-based Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which protects citizens’ technology rights, filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging tech giant Google had violated the privacy of students as young as seven years old by mining their data.
The complaint alleges such monitoring violates a Student Privacy Pledge that Google signed in 2014, which the EFF said is legally enforceable under the Federal Trade Commission Act.
If a toy is labelled as “smart” that probably means it is connected to the internet in some form, whether this be via an app, wi-fi or other method.
The new Barbie doll is expected to be available is stores by the end of the year, just in time for Christmas
Though, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood have been trying to to stop the launch