Children’s watches with “eavesdropping” function banned in Germany

The Federal Network Agency, (Bundesnetzagentur BNetzA) has today, in its role as the  German regulatory office for electricity, gas, telecommunications, post and railway markets, prohibited the sale of children’s watches that have an “eavesdropping” function.   Action has already already been taken against several offers on the internet.

“Parents can use these children’s watches to listen in to the child’s surroundings
without detection via an app. The watches are regarded as unauthorised
transmitting equipment,” said Jochen Homann, Bundesnetzagentur President.
“Our investigations found, for example, that parents were using them to
eavesdrop on teachers in lessons.”

There are large number of providers offering children’s smart watches which include an
“eavesdropping” function on the German market. They are aimed at children
aged between 5 and 12.

The watches have a SIM card and limited telephony function that are set up and
controlled using an app. This kind of listening function is often described as a
monitor. The app user is able to make the watch call a desired number
unnoticed by its wearer or those nearby. The user can then eavesdrop on the
wearer’s conversations and surroundings. This type of listening function is
prohibited in Germany.

The Bundesnetzagentur advises schools, in particular, to be even more aware of
pupils owning watches with a listening function. If the Bundesnetzagentur has
knowledge of the buyers of such devices, it tells them to destroy the watches
and send evidence of this to the authority. It is recommended for parents to take
responsibility for destroying the devices themselves and to keep proof of this.

Information about providing proof of destruction if requested by the
Bundesnetzagentur may be found at:
www.bundesnetzagentur.de/spionagekameras
This page also includes an overview of product groups classed as unauthorised
transmitting equipment under German law.


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