Recently, the German telecommunication agency, called Bundesnetzagentur, announced that they would be banning certain smartwatches for children. Moreover, in a report they issued, they are asking the parents who already bought these devices to destroy them. The reason for the smartwatches ban? The regulators believe they can be used as ‘prohibitive listening devices’.
Smartwatches Ban – Denouncing a Threat?
Through its announcement, Germany proved that it is focusing on the listening abilities available on the smartwatches. However, the authorities didn’t declare anything regarding the BEUC’s (European Consumer Organization) announcement that these devices are also a threat to the kids’ privacy. According to the BEUC, people could hack the GPS tracking of the smartwatches and thus find out where a child is. They could even spoof the GPS location.
According to the Agency, it has already acted in what concerns various offers on the Internet about smartwatches. Jochen Homann, who is the President of the Federal Network Agency, declared that with an app, parents could use the watches to listen to the child’s environment. As such, these watches should be considered ‘unauthorized transmitting equipment’.
Illegal Practices Denounced
According to Homann, the agency did some research, and it turns out there are plenty of parents who use the smartwatches to listen to their childrens’ teachers. The law in Germany specifies that it’s illegal to record or to listen to private conversations without the permission of the people being recorded. Now, the Agency advises parents to destroy the devices. At the same time, they are warning schools to pay attention to the watches that have a recording function.
If Europe’s war on smartwatches will continue, manufacturers will need to improve their security protocols. This might also lead to an improvement in the entire smartwatch market. Currently, the situation isn’t all that great when it comes to these devices, which is why people will likely be happy to see some improvements in this field.
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