VTech Fined $650,000 for Failing to Protect Privacy of Children with Internet-Connected Toys

Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

VTech, the Chinese electronics manufacturer of children’s toys and games, has been fined $650,000 after failing to protect the privacy of their young tech users.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has fined VTech in response to a data breach in 2015, which compromised the private information of customers, and even pictures of young children who had used the devices.

In 2016, the company absolved themselves of any further responsibility in case a data breach happened again.

According to the BBC, “While investigating the breach, the FTC found the firm had broken US laws governing the way data about children is gathered,” and claimed the company “failed to take reasonable steps” to protect its customers.

“The app collected personal information but did so without seeking consent from parents or telling children what data was being collected and the uses to which it would be put,” they reported.

In a statement, FTC chairman Maureen Ohlhausen declared, “As connected toys become increasingly popular, it’s more important than ever that companies let parents know how their kids’ data is collected and used and that they take reasonable steps to secure that data… Unfortunately, VTech fell short in both of these areas.”

The BBC reported that VTech has also vowed to “to uphold US child data protection laws in future,” and has “agreed to improve its security practices and will be subjected to regular independent data and privacy audits for the next 20 years.”

Last July, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned consumers about internet-connected toys for children which can potentially be hacked.

Major security flaws have been found in other toys outside of VTech, including a Wi-Fi connected Barbie doll.

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.


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