The European Commission has ordered that a smartwatch designed for children is recalled due to concerns that it poses a potentially serious risk for its users.
The watch in question is the Safe-KID-One watch made by German company ENOX, which appeared in a weekly RAPEX report. RAPEX is an EU-wide rapid information exchange system that raises the alarm for non-food products that are found to pose a serious health or safety risk.
The Safe-KID-One watch appeared in one of these RAPEX reports identifying the device as having a 'Serious' risk level. The alert was submitted from Iceland with the product deemed not to comply with the Radio Equipment Directive.
The report suggests the companion smartphone app for the watch was shown to have 'unencrypted communications with its backend server and the server enables unauthenticated access to data.' This means data such as location history, phone numbers and serial number could be easily retrieved and changed.
This could enable a user to send commands to any watch, make it call another number, communicate with the child wearing the device and perhaps most worrying, locate the child through GPS. The report suggests a recall of the product from end users.
Enox has since responded to the recall order stating that the version of the watch was tested by the appropriate regulatory bodies in Germany and passed those tests so it could go on sale. It believes that the RAPEX report was based on tests carried out in Iceland it feels were 'excessive – not reasonable, material or fair – or, based on a misunderstanding or the wrong product.'
It's now seeking that the test conclusion in Iceland be reversed based on successful testing carried out on the watch in Germany.
This isn't the first time there has been raised concerns over the safety of kids smartwatches. Back in 2017, the Norwegian Consumer Council carried out tests on several kids smartwatches. It found that hackers could exploit security holes in three of the watches allowing them to talk to the kids wearing them and even spoof their location letting parents think they are actually somewhere else.
This does though appear to be one of the first times the RAPEX system has been used in relation to data protection and privacy. With a range of companies including Fitbit and Garmin now making wearables for kids, the importance of complying with all of the key regulations that deem these devices safe has never been more important.
Hopefully this will be the last time a kids wearable gets into trouble. It's probably safe to assume though that more devices will come under the same kind of scrutiny in the future too.
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