Invading Children’s Privacy: WebKinz, NeoPets, Barbie and similar Data Hoarders

This comes through Lauren. I can only fully agree with her recommendation of watching and sharing this clip with anybody that has kids or is concerned about the security of our children.

You need to have flashplayer enabled to watch this Google video

This is very creepy and shows the high level of immorality of the toy industry. With aggressive data hoarders like this, it seems more urgent than ever to even go beyond an opt-in regime (which we do not – yet – have in the U.S.) and put heavy financial liability burdens on any company holding or handling information about children under 17. Also, I think that consent mechanisms for children must be changed in a way that makes it impossible for children and parents to consent to privacy regimes that can be detrimental to children.

What makes this even more scary is that local governments are obviously not fully aware of the privacy ramifications of these organized privacy violators. For example, the Town of Burlington, MA, offers through its recreation department a class (see here, p. 5) for parents and children to make special “things” for their WebKinz.

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