Parents hoping to keep tabs on their kids via the latest technology have been dealt a blow, in Germany at least.
The country’s version of Ofcom, the Federal Network Agency (FNA), has forbidden the sale of smart watches targeted at children – after it became apparent that over-caring parents could dial into the devices to secretly listen in on their conversations.
The FNA claims to have taken action against a number of, unnamed, firms – and has asked parents to smash up any watches they’ve already bought, which may make for some interesting scenes on Christmas morning.
The agency’s president, Jochen Homann, said: ‘Via an app, parents can use such watches to secretly listen to a child’s environment. They are to be seen as a prohibited transmitter. Our investigation has also shown that parents have used the watches to listen to teachers in the classroom.’
Germany’s surveillance laws forbid devices that can be programmed to covertly dial a phone number, allowing others to listen in.