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Wiretapping children’s watches banned in Germany

Certain smartwatches for children can no longer be sold in Germany as some of these models are equipped with a “wiretapping” function, reports Deutsche Welle. Germany’s Federal Network Agency, or Bundesnetzagentur, announced the ban saying that these watches can be classed as ‘unauthorised transmitters’. “According to our investigations, parents were using the watches, for example, to listen in on teachers during class,” said Bundesnetzagentur president, Jochen Homann. According to the regulator, there are several smartwatches on the market in Germany targeted at 5 to 12-year-olds. Authorities have advised parents to dispose of the watches and retain evidence that they had done so, as keeping devices with such monitoring functions is forbidden by law in Germany. The regulator emphasised that smartwatches with integrated telephone functions are not forbidden. Devices cross the line, however, when they have a SIM card and a function that is typically described as a “baby phone function”, “one-way conversation”, or “voice monitoring”. In these cases, the watch’s microphone can be activated using an app where the parents’ or another person’s telephone number has been previously entered. After activating the microphone, “all voices and sounds in the watch’s surroundings can be monitored without [the wearer of the watch] making a call,” Bundesnetzagentur said on its website. Read more

  • Tuesday, 21 November 2017

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