Interesting. Mattel's profits are on the decline, yet they feel they can spare the cash to invest in - what? - algorithmic analysis of audio feeds from microphones on a toy? - surely that's a cash black-hole? Unless they were going to use third-party companies to do the data heavy-lifting... in which case, who, how, what? It's a story that merits more infrastructural investigation... have Mattel built their own infrastructure or using a pre-existing one?
Ah, wait: here we are: Toy Talk.
"Creepy Barbie can listen to everything your child says (and everyone else in the background) via a microphone. As the doll “listens” the audio is transferred to a web server where these juicy tidbits are processed so Barbie (or the creepsters at Mattel) can respond. Creepy NSA Barbie can record your child’s most intimate conversations, can hear everything going on in the background, and will be a third-party in all of your “what you thought were private” discussions.
When pressed, Mattel commented that they are ” committed to safety and security, and Hello Barbie conforms to applicable government standards.”