Call to boycott Barbie with built-in camera
Mattel's trademark vinyl doll is getting older but she has embraced technology - Barbie's new built-in camera abilities are worrying some privacy advocates and psychologists.
The Barbie Video Girl doll has been criticised for enabling children to film themselves and others using a hidden camera in Barbie's necklace.
The doll also has a small colour LCD screen in her back and the capacity to record 30 minutes of video, which can be transferred to a computer.
A clinical psychologist, Sally-Anne McCormack, said the doll had the potential to be used unwisely online and called on parents to boycott the product. ''Essentially, it's a hidden camera,'' the mother of four said. ''Children don't look at video clips the way that adults do, and there might be inappropriate shots that they upload onto YouTube.''
Michael Pearce, of Liberty Victoria, said it was useless to try to stop the production of recording gadgets such as the Barbie doll and argued that Australia was in desperate need of better privacy laws to protect against new technology being used inappropriately.
''It's possible that the Barbie camera might pick up some personal and private events that you would rather not be publicly disclosed,'' he said.
''It's futile to try and stop these things from spreading ... but what we should try to do is make sure they spread in a legal environment that gives adequate protection for privacy, and that's not the current legal environment.''
Christopher Zinn, from the consumer group Choice, said the doll was one of many gadgets that contained video camera tools.
''I don't think you can stifle innovation, the proliferation of mobile phones, hidden pen cameras ... there are so many of them out there already, I can't see how one extra can tilt the balance from the playful to the perverse,'' he said.
''As the cost of video innovation drops, there will be more and more. I don't think it's fair to say that kids' toys can't have cameras in them.''
Sydney Morning Herald