cornmacabre t1_j26ie5y wrote

Speaking as someone who works in the advertising industry, I was pretty skeptical about this point:

("Experts warn") "[RJ Cross of PIRG] said that data, although anonymized, is sold to advertisers to create profiles of children, just like companies can for adults."

I couldn't find any evidence between the referenced articles that this was the case that data was being monetized. It appears to be simply her asserting her opinion with as much research and critical thinking as "ehh yeah probably, idk."

Putting aside the "of course they're selling data!," default assumptions for folks who arent in the industry -- COPPA is very serious about restricting the data collection, purchasing, and targeting of kids. Major no-no, massive fines. It is a massive legal liability to mess around with this legislation, and for really negligible gain.

More specifically, as advertisers -- you simply cannot target or purchase this type of data targeting kids, it doesn't exist. No advertising platform has a "wink wink, its kid toy data!!" available to target or purchase, nor is any agency brief including "target young childrens intent profile digitally" as a specific profile or target. So even if this company was selling it (sell it to who? Sketchy affiliate marketers? And what even is the value of smart toy sourced data?) -- there would be virtually no reach or monetizable scale from professional standpoint, oh and it's blatantly in breach of long established legislation that invites massive financial and legal risk. The FTC would love to pounce on a fuckup like that. Yuck, no!

I doubt most folks would be convinced that not every smart device is "selling data to advertisers", but as someone in the dirty trade of marketing and data activation -- it's exceptionally unlikely that child sourced data collected is being sold or activated on by anyone professionally. We don't want to touch it with a ten foot pole, and none of the major buy platforms would sell it.

My interpretation was simply "the T&C for these toy companies are clumsy and allow voice transcripts where they probably shouldn't." That's different than monetizing or selling data. Lol, cool.

Tl;Dr -- from a professionals boring reality POV, it's extremely unlikely they're selling kids data. But also, I totally get that this is just assumed by most folks at this point, haha.