FBI issues alert for Barbie doll with hidden video camera

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - 15:41

Los Angeles: Ahead of Christmas, the FBI has
issued a "cyber crime alert" for a new Barbie doll that
doubles as a video camera, warning the toy could be used by
pedophiles to make child pornography.

In an alert entitled "Barbie `Video Girl` a Possible
Child Pornography Production Method," the FBI said the doll
has a built-in hidden camera in the chest and a small LCD
screen for video display in her back.

The doll`s camera can capture 30 minutes of footage, and
the video can be downloaded and streamed live to a computer,
but there is no indication it can be streamed directly to the
Internet, the FBI alert said.

The FBI "cyber crime alert" doesn`t cite any misuse of
the doll, which sells for USD 49.99, has been on the market
since July, but talks about the possibility.

"FBI investigation has revealed instances where an
individual convicted of distributing child pornography had
given a Barbie doll to a 6 year old girl," the alert said.

"FBI investigation has revealed instances where an
individual convicted of distributing child pornography had
given a Barbie doll to a 6 year old girl," CNN quoted the
alert as saying.

"The possibility of the combination of these two in a
single device presents a concern for investigators," said the
FBI alert, dated November 30.

"Law enforcement is encouraged to be aware of
unconventional avenues for possible production and possession
of child pornography, such as the Barbie Video Girl," it said.

The notice is written for law agencies only, but
someone at the FBI mistakenly sent it to media outlets in
Seattle, said special agent Steve Dupre of the FBI`s
Sacramento, California, office, which distributed the notice.

"It was an inadvertent dissemination of the document,"
Dupre said. "There have been no reported incidents of this
doll being used as anything other than as intended."
Meanwhile, some parents have expressed concern about
the doll after the FBI alert.

"That plays into these people who prey upon our
children`s ideals. It frightens me," William Porres, a
grandfather, said. He said he will not buy the doll for his 6
-year-old granddaughter.

"Oh, she would love it, but she`s more important to me
than a giggle on Christmas morning," Porres said.
Mattel Inc., the toymaker issued a statement, saying
child safety is its priority.

"Mattel products are designed with children and their
best interests in mind," the company said.

"Many of Mattel`s employees are parents themselves,
and we understand the importance of child safety," it said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, December 8, 2010 - 15:41

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