Germany Bans Kids' Smartwatches, Classifies Them as Illegal Spying Devices

Germany's Federal Network Agency (Bundesnetzagentur), the country's telecommunications agency, has banned the sale of children's smartwatches after it classified such devices as "prohibited listening devices."
The ban was announced earlier today. The Agency said it "already taken action against several offers on the Internet."
The ban has nothing to do with the public service announcement published online by the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) last month.
In mid-October, BEUC has warned parents that many kids' smartwatches are plagued by security flaws that allow attackers to track children and listen to their conversations.

Smartwatches deemed "prohibited listening devices"

It's this last part the German regulator took notice to, as today's ban doesn't even mention the word "security," but focuses on the ability of modern kids' smartwatches to silently record conversations.
"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.
Homann added that based on his agency's own research, parents are 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.

Agency urges parents to destroy devices

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.
Even if today's ban didn't center around security issues, security researchers are happy about the decision either way.
This is not the first time Germany has stepped in and banned the sale of a particular product. Earlier in the year, in February, the same German regulator banned "My Friend Cayla" smart dolls over hacking fears and the illegal collection of children's' sensitive data.
source: bleepingcomputer

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