Mattel nixes IoT smart hub for kids over privacy worries

Mattel has revealed that it has cancelled its planned Internet of Things smart hub for kids. The device, called Aristotle, brought about concerns from privacy advocates over the amount of data it could potentially gather about the kids who used it. The company issued a statement yesterday saying that an internal review of the plans to launch the device spurred the decision to cancel it.

Privacy in a world where increasing numbers of devices are connected to the Internet is a hot topic, particularly so when related to children. We've seen few data breaches that involves kids' privacy, but the ones that have happened have been major. Many worried the Mattel device could present such a risk, among other things.

This past July, Mattel hired Chief Technology Officer Sven Gerjets, who then reviewed plans to launch the device. The new CTO ultimately decided that the company wouldn't proceed with those plans "as part of an ongoing effort to deliver the best possible connected product experience to the consumer."

Had Aristotle been launched, it would have worked with kids as young as a baby and as old as preteens. At the youngest ages, the device could serve as a night light, whereas for older kids it could do things like help with homework. In the process, though, it would have gathered data about the kids using it.

In addition to worries about whether the data would be adequately safeguarded, some critics worried about the device's impact on kids. Some argued that better data is needed on the effects such as a smart hub could have on the development of children.

SOURCE: The Washington Post