(Subtitled: pwnd by my 4 year old).
Today we bought our little one (aged 4) a VTECH pad – it’s a cool little pad and could probably best be described as a wireless dependent Educational aid for kids.
However – I call it scarey Pad now - 6 hours since it arrived into our private space.
Out of the box experience or OOBe for me so far:
Placed battery’s in and put on charge. Turned it on, tried some of the links on its screen but everything said the device NEEDED to be registered online. (Alarm bell 1)
Installed accompanying CD software onto my laptop as per instructions. This step involved registering the device online at the producers website. One of the popups on the sites processing pages even asked for the age of the kid who was going to be using it. (Alarm Bell 2)
This was a bit worrying so I filled in a fake date of birth. It also asked for my post-code (zip-code).
Turned on and attached the tethering USB cable and my laptop found and installed the drivers and the machines were effectively ‘paired’.
Restarted new pad as per screen instructions and was informed it required ‘an update to its firmware’. There was no option to say no to allowing data traffic on my network. (HUGE alarm bell)(
This enforced but apparently essential firmware update took a long time.
Then it restarted, and the upgrade ran and we had the pad up and running. On trying the links onscreen now they all worked and I switched off my laptop and disconnected it.
As she began excitedly playing her first educational games – I sat and thought it odd that the pad was now running on our WPA2 password protected home network.
Essentially – it had bypassed the credentials process of our wireless encryption – by stealing the private keys from our laptop.
And all of this happened with no permissions sought or given in relation to me giving away my privacy – and adding my postcode(data location) my kids age – and Surname , the first name they can gather from the profile which any kid (or kids) create on this device.
I feel I was duped and now I have given away my security – to a device – which will sit on our private home network and has built in Camera, Microphone , messaging and browsing capabilities.
Does the v in vTECH stand for violation ?
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