GERMAN REGULATORS have banned the sale of children's smartwatches and asked parents to destroy any devices that their kids currently own.
As reported by Bleeping Computer, telecoms regulator the Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur) has slammed such wearables as "prohibitive listening devices" and said it has "already taken action against several offers on the internet."
No specific devices were mentioned, but the Agency said that those of concern are widely available on the German market and target children aged between 5 to 12.
Jochen Homann, President of the Federal Network Agency, added that based on the regulator's own research, parents are also using their children's smartwatches to listen to teachers in the classroom. Recording or listening to private conversations is against the law in Germany without the permission of all recorded persons.
"Using an app, parents can use such children's watches to listen unnoticed to the child's environment and they are to be regarded as unauthorized transmitting equipment," said Jochen Homann, President of the Federal Network Agency.
The ban has nothing to do with the public service announcement published online by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) last month. The BEUC warned parents that many kids' smartwatches equipped with GPS are plagued by security flaws that allow attackers to track children's' locations.
The Agency is now urging parents to destroy any such devices and is advising schools to pay more attention to watches with conversation recording function among students.
This latest decision comes just months after the German Federal Network Agency banned an internet-connected doll called 'Cayla' after it was revealed that the toy can listen a child says, record that information, connect to the internet and be hacked.
The Agency advised parents who have already bought Cayla dolls to destroy them. µ
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