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The doll and robot are internet-connected toys that children can talk and interact with. When children ask the toys a question, the words are recorded and converted to text so answers can be retrieved from Google, Wikipedia and Weather Underground. These recorded words, phrases and conversations are also uploaded to Nuance, a voice technology.
The consumer groups allege that Nuance uses the recordings to improve the products it sells to military, government and law enforcement agencies. One particular product, Nuance Identifier, helps security officials search millions of recordings and identify criminals by the sound of their voices.
The consumer watchdogs claim in the complaint that Genesis' My Friend Cayla doll subjects young children to Disney product placements.
"My Friend Cayla is pre-programmed with dozens of phrases that reference Disneyworld and Disney movies," the complaint reads. "For example, Cayla tells children that her favorite movie is Disney's 'The Little Mermaid' and her favorite song is 'Let it Go,' from Disney's 'Frozen.' Cayla also tells children she loves going to Disneyland and wants to go to Epcot in Disneyworld."
It's hard for kids to recognize this as advertising, the groups say.
The Cayla doll also has a mobile phone app that asks children to provide personal information, like their name and their parents' names, their favorite TV show, their favorite meal, where they go to school, their favorite toy and where they live.
Consumer advocate groups are saying that some dolls being sold at the likes of Toys R Us and Walmart are recording what your child says and sending it to a database used to improve products being sold to the military, government and law enforcement agencies.