Big Barbie Is Watching You: Meet The WiFi-Connected Doll that Talks to Your Kids & Records Them

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Earlier this month, I highlighted the fact that the latest Samsung Smart TV can and will listen to your conversations, and will share the details with a third party in the post: A Very Slippery Slope – Yes, Your Samsung Smart TV Can Listen to Your Private Conversations.

Well a couple of weeks later, and we learn that Mattel’s latest high-tech Barbie doll will bring the “internet of things” right into your child’s playpen. From the The Register:

Toymaker Mattel has unveiled a high-tech Barbie that will listen to your child, record its words, send them over the internet for processing, and talk back to your kid. It will email you, as a parent, highlights of your youngster’s conversations with the toy.


If Samsung’s spying smart TVs creeped you out, this doll may be setting off alarm bells too – so we drilled into what’s going on.


The Hello Barbie doll is developed by San Francisco startup ToyTalk, which says it has more than $31m in funding from Greylock Partners, Charles River Ventures, Khosla Ventures, True Ventures and First Round Capital, and others.


Its Wi-Fi-connected Barbie toy has a microphone, a speaker, a small embedded computer with a battery that lasts about an hour, and Wi-Fi hardware. When you press a button on her belt buckle, Barbie wakes up, asks a question, and turns on its microphone while the switch is held down.


The doll is loaded up with scripts to read, and one of these is selected depending on what the kid said. If the tyke shows an interest in a particular past-time or thing, the doll’s backend software will know to talk about that – giving the kid the impression that chatty Barbie’s a good, listening friend.


Crucially, the recorded audio of children’s voices (and whatever else happens to be going on around them when they push the buckle button) is kept on ToyTalk’s computers. This material is supposed to help Mattel and ToyTalk improve Barb’s scripted replies. It’s also good test data for developing the voice-recognition code.The ToyTalk privacy policy page, dated last April well before Hello Barbie was revealed this week, states:


When users interact with ToyTalk, we may capture photographs or audio or video recordings (the “Recordings”) of such interactions, depending upon the particular application being used.


We may use, transcribe and store such Recordings to provide and maintain the Service, to develop, test or improve speech recognition technology and artificial intelligence algorithms, and for other research and development or internal purposes.


We may make such Recordings available to the parent account holder and permit the parent account holder to share such Recordings with third parties.


By using Hello Barbie, parents agree to these terms. It’s not clear how long the recordings stay on ToyTalk’s systems.

You’ve been warned: Big Barbie is Watching You.

*  *  *

*  *  *

For related articles, see:

A Very Slippery Slope – Yes, Your Samsung Smart TV Can Listen to Your Private Conversations

Big Brother is Coming to Healthcare – How Hospitals are Entering Your Credit Card Info Into Algorithms

Big Brother is Coming…To Your Brokerage Account

Retail Big Brother – Mannequins Are Now Using Facial Recognition Technology

Big Brother is Coming to Your Car

Mayor Bloomberg on Drones: “Oh it’s Big Brother. Get Used to it”

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
walküre's picture

Our kids are utterly fucked. If they're not dying from increased levels of toxins and radiation, they will die of stupidity.

Newsboy's picture

Terminator Barbie?


edotabin's picture

Yeah big brother was ugly so now we have Cool Sister

NoDebt's picture

First question it asks:  Do your parents own any guns?

This shit's creepy to no end.


Usurious's picture
Usurious (not verified) NoDebt Feb 23, 2015 9:42 PM

where does your daddy hide his gold?

DJ Happy Ending's picture

"a high-tech Barbie that will listen to your child, record its words"

My child is not an it, fortunately.

Paveway IV's picture

GoyTalk Barbie uses the same voice recognition software-as-a-service provider - Nuance - that Samsung TVs and the Siri application use. 

Nuance likes to use NICE software for long-term storage and pattern-matching so it can 'enhance' Nuance's accuracy and capability.

NICE is our favorite Israeli security company that, well... here's what NICE says:

NICE Security Solutions empower organizations to anticipate, manage and mitigate security, safety and operational risks in real time, and to thoroughly investigate and reconstruct incidents for future prevention and prosecutorial evidence. NICE has tailored its vertical-specific solutions based on the extensive experience garnered from partnering with some of the world’s most security-conscious organizations and environments. Powered by leading-edge technology made possible by a focused and ongoing commitment to R&D, NICE’s unmatched portfolio of integrated solutions fit tomorrow’s needs today.

Stick a camera in Barbie's belly-button and NICE could also offer these services to you:

NICE Suspect Search – Next Generation Video Analytics

Find. Right. Now.


Whether you need to find an individual suspected of criminal activity or a lost child [or a Palestinian child to shred], time is always of the essence. Your video surveillance system has recorded them; the problem is the time it takes to find where. It can take hours, sometimes days [and all those damn Arabs look alike]. During that time the opportunity to apprehend the suspect or rescue the child [or launch a Dense Inert Metal Explosive missile at a school] could be lost.


NICE Suspect Search helps you locate and track people of interest [Arabs, anti-Semites, Gun Owners, ZHers, Russians, etc.], expediting forensic video searches. Searches that used to take up considerable resources can now be completed more efficiently and effectively using a fraction of the time and manpower [saving the Stazi millions that could otherwise be spent on up-armoring cops].


"Mommy... Barbie is very angry. She wants to have a talk with you about your gobernmint critisizis...sizms. Are they going to put you in prison again for saying bad things, mommy? I don't like visiting you there. The jail police touch me in bad ways"

MontgomeryScott's picture

"Twilight Zone" stuff. Rod Serling was a 'predictive programmer'?

'Talky Tina':

I never thought Barbie resembled Janet Napolitano...

Skateboarder's picture

Fucking filthy SF startup statists. They'll sell their own mothers to make a buck on some shitty spy software.

zeropain's picture

Data mine at birth. Gets stranger and stanger.

XqWretch's picture

"If we told the capitalists that we were hanging them tomorrow, they would fall over themselves to sell us the rope" -Lenin

GMadScientist's picture

You mean El Segundo, but yeah.

Skateboarder's picture

ToyTalk, Inc.
74 Tehama Street
San Francisco, CA 94105 USA

Thirst Mutilator's picture

I'll lay short odds its next to a bagel shop or deli.

JuliaS's picture

A better name for the "internet of things" would be "government of everything".

Id fight Gandhi's picture

In the old days, 5 years ago, people use to have friends, talk to each other, catch up.

Now it's all fast food social media shit. People can't even hold a conversation anymore. Stare at their phones, make emotes, snap stupid pics.

There's no time for personal reflection anymore. Commutes, waiting for a dr appt. waiting in line. It could suck, left you thinking about stuff. Now it's all instant entertainment and drivel.

We have access to all sorts of information, new skills to learn at anytime, but people waste it with celeb gossip and mindless app games.

booboo's picture

Relax, she is still a blond.

MontgomeryScott's picture

Blondes only ACT dumb. They can screw you over just as well as Redheads or Brunettes; better, sometimes (trust me on this one).

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Sounds like someone should ignore hair color and personally wise up a bit.

I enjoy being a blond. It's fun to watch the confusion on men's faces after a few minutes of conversation.


TheReplacement's picture

Shave their heads and take the power away.

runswithscissors's picture

she's blond...but she's "smooth"

one_hundred's picture
one_hundred (not verified) walküre Feb 23, 2015 10:38 PM

my co-worker's ex-wife makes $80 hourly on the computer . She has been out of work for 10 months but last month her paycheck was $12310 just working on the computer for a few hours. look at this now...

TeamDepends's picture

I've fallen, and I can't get up.

A Lunatic's picture

No need for ISIS, I think I'll cut my own fucking head off now.......

Hulk's picture

Dont start at the back, you'll never make it !!!

Kaiser Sousa's picture

what a great country!

NYPoke's picture

Somebody isn't going to be happy when they find out what little brothers do with Barbie, when left alone.

Creepy A. Cracker's picture

And now gerbiling but with Barbie will be recorded for all time viewable on YouTube. 


Not that I know what any of that is, mind you...

stant's picture

They will end up in a land fill like most junk toys

Rootin' for Putin's picture

I liked "the doll’s backend software"

Biggieshort's picture

Parent: Why are you taking my child?


Child Services: Agent Barbie told us you were verbally abusive to your child.

Normalcy Bias's picture

When are they gonna come out with Blowjob Barbie? Then they'll really have something!

GeezerGeek's picture

Barbie is passive, not active. For advanced interactive stuff we need Apple to get busy. They're already working on the iCar, so now they need to develop an android (running IoSex -IoS extended, that is - and not Android the OS). I won't attempt to propose a name for a BJ version, although a few do suggest themselves.

MontgomeryScott's picture

You opened yourself up for this one:

'Barbie' is about 12 inches tall (this would make her mouth about a quarter of an inch wide).

I mean, I've heard of men with SMALL PENISES, but...


SmedleyButlersGhost's picture

Oh shite - just for the record - I knew it was a doll and recording me. I was just trying to be ironic. god , my parole officer is not going to like this

wendigo's picture
wendigo (not verified) Feb 23, 2015 7:37 PM

I went to the Gatlinburg aquarium the other day. I like aquariums. They were selling fucking barbies in the gift shop, and not even aquatic themed ones.

To my mind, the only acceptable use for a Barbie is to practice how to torture and mutilate a human body.

GeezerGeek's picture

For torture and mutilation of the human body, I suggest an iSis.

logicalman's picture

How stupid would you have to be to buy one of these for your kids???

I think if I walked into someone's house and saw one of those things, the door, for sure, wouldn't have time to hit me on the arse on the way out!


Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I was fortunate my two daughters hated Barbies. They were once at a friends house and tried to get them to ride their Breyer Model horses, snapping the dolls legs off in the process. Both of them thought that was uproariously funny but I got a nasty call from a mom and they were never invited back.

I can imagine what tortures they would come up with for this new model. Probably put it on the phone with a telemarketer.


logicalman's picture

Anyone else here just feels like screaming???

I try to consider the neighbours, but one of these days ...........

NoWayJose's picture

Honestly, can we get DHS to crank out some of these spy Barbies dressed as Muslim Barbies in hijabs?

GeezerGeek's picture

More likely that Barry will produce millions and demand that every American home have one. They can be dressed as nurses and be part of the Obamacare mandate.

Bunga Bunga's picture

Obamatoys ... get one or pay a fine.