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News in brief: Oculus demos closed; smart doll ‘should be destroyed’; Europe warned over elections

Your daily round-up of some of the other stories in the news

Your daily round-up of some of the other stories in the news

VR falters as it hits roadblocks

There’s been a lot of hype around virtual reality, and some concerns about the privacy implications of data-sharing between hardware and owner, but it seems that the first nail might have been hammered into the technology as a consumer thing.

Facebook is to close nearly half of its 500 Oculus VR demo stations at Best Buy stores across the US, Business Insider has reported. It added that staff at the stores had reported that they could go days without doing a demonstration.

That news comes hard on the heels of a court ruling that Facebook must pay $500m to game developer ZeniMax after Oculus breached a contract with the company. Meanwhile Gabe Newell, the CEO of game developer Valve, said that HTC’s Vive, the most expensive device on the market, is “barely capable of doing a marginally adequate job of delivering a VR experience”.

Smart doll ‘should be destroyed’

We have covered the concerns around some internet-connected toys on Naked Security, but while we’ve got reservations about many of them, we’ve never gone as far as Germany’s Bundesnetzagentur, the telecoms watchdog, which has warned parents that a “smart doll” called Cayla is an “illegal espionage apparatus” and that parents should destroy the toy.

The doll responds to questions asked by its child owner by connecting to the internet to supply the answer, which sparked concerns of security researchers. Stefan Hessel of Saarbrucken University warned that “access to the doll is completely unsecured – there is no password to protect the connection.”

Regulators decided after investigating that it can be used to illegally spy on children – under German law, it’s illegal to make, sell or own surveillance devices that are disguised as something else.

The UK Toy Retailers Association told the BBC that the doll “offers no special risk” and that “there is no reason for alarm”. However, Vera Jourová, the EU privacy commissioner, begs to differ. She said: “I’m worried about the impact of connected dolls on children’s privacy and safety.”

Europe warned on Russian election meddling

European countries must be willing to respond forcefully to Russian efforts to meddle in their elections, John Carlin, a former US assistant attorney-general has warned.

Carlin, who served in the Obama administration, said that the US had not done enough at the time to deter the theft of DNC emails during last year’s election: “What we did was too late,” he told the RSA security conference in San Francisco.

“It’s vital that not just the United States but partners like Germany, like France, make it clear where the red line is, that there’s going to be strong deterrence,” he said.

Catch up with all of today’s stories on Naked Security


Kate, I really like your articles, and by no means do I mean to detract from your writing by mocking the subjects of the stories. If you don’t post this I completely understand. I hope you at least get a laugh out of this… That said,,,
Alternate version:
-Oculus looks to make excuses for low sales while ignoring complaints of low resolution. An anonymous Oculus rep was heard saying “It still looks good in Minecraft”.
-Germany looks to ban Paper and “writing devices” as they violate privacy laws. Some legal person said: “if you use a pencil on paper under a paper someone has written on, you may be able to see what they wrote. And don’t get me started on the Erase feature not being perfect”.
-Europe is in panic that someone might expose corrupt candidates, preventing them from gaining power. Proponents suggest blocking all media and making people vote for Blue, Green, Red and Yellow. After the election is held, candidates will flip a coin to see what color they get.
Former bomber staffer was head saying, “its fair and democratic” and “It’s unreasonable to expect people to know who to vote for, so we just remove the problem”


I was glad to understand the breakdown, I like technology terms in a way most can understand. The paper and pencil simile is something funny but may well be true.


“its fair and democratic” and “It’s unreasonable to expect people to know who to vote for, so we just remove the problem”

That’s why the US is not a democracy. :)


(in nasally geek voice) uh technically, its a “republic” that is democratically elected. Which is why it’s not a democracy.


We have democratic principals but the difference is that we have laws that protect the sovereignty of the citizen. Think of it as three entities, 2 wolves and a sheep discussing what’s on the dinner menu. Great for the wolfs, but not too great for the sheep. The same scenario in a republic where the rules (law) states that none of them can be on the menu.

I guess you didn’t notice that Trump did not win by popular vote (democracy.) So it’s not really democratic that way either. If it were, there are so many people in the city New York who could easily ‘out vote’ the whole state of Arizona. Which is why the electoral vote.

Isn’t a democracy is one of the shortest living forms of government? It seems they get into power and control everything and won’t listen to the people…
(Sound familiar… :O )

Just another twisted look at it…


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