European Commission orders mass recall of creepy, leaky child-tracking smartwatch
Hackers can talk to and locate the wearer, warns notice
The European Commission has ordered the recall of a smartwatch aimed at kids that allows miscreants to pinpoint the wearer's location, posing a potentially "serious risk".
The commission uses its Rapid Alert System for Non-Food products (Rapex) to send out alerts to other nations in the European Economic Area about dangerous products in their markets.
The latest weekly report includes German firm Enox's Safe-KID-One watch, which is marketed to parents as a way of keeping tabs on their little ones – ostensibly to keep them safe – and comes with one-click buttons for speed-dialling family members.
Year after being blasted for dodgy security, GPS kid tracker biz takes heat again for leaving families' private info lying around for crimsREAD MORE
However, the commission said the device does not comply with the Radio Equipment Directive and detailed "serious" risks associated with the device.
"The mobile application accompanying the watch has unencrypted communications with its backend server and the server enables unauthenticated access to data," the directive said.
As a result, data on location history, phone numbers and device serial number can be found and changed.
"A malicious user can send commands to any watch making it call another number of his choosing, can communicate with the child wearing the device or locate the child through GPS," the alert warned.
It ordered public authorities to "recall the product from end users".
Data protection experts suggested this is the first time the Rapex system has been used for dangerous products related to data protection and privacy. Data protection officer Bernieri Christian, who spotted the alert, described the use of the system – and the product recall – as "huge".
1/4 This is huge!! As far as I know, the UE has issued the FIRST Rapid Alert (#RAPEX) for dangerous products that may be related to data protection and #Privacy.— Bernieri Christian (@prevenzione) February 1, 2019
This drive me crazy: the product is a smartwatch for MONITORING KIDS (#ENOX SAFE KID ONE with GSM and GPS integrated) pic.twitter.com/huFsSxDrOp
The Enox watch is far from the only creepy, leaky kid-tracking smartwatch on the market. In October, security firm Mnemonic and the Norwegian Consumer Council released a report that found "significant security flaws, unreliable safety features and a lack of consumer protection" in the models they tested.
Similar issues have been raised about connected toys; last June Amazon stopped selling CloudPets toys after privacy advocates raised the alarm about the devices, in which a range of security holes had been found.
We've asked Enox for comment. ®
Updated to add at 09:20 UTC, 5 February:
Enox got in touch to tell The Reg: "This Version of the Watch was tested by Bundenetzagentur in Germany last Summer, and it did pass the test and was released for sale. In December 2018 we got the attached confirmation from them, that the watch had passed their test.
This RAPEX announcement [is based] on a test in Iceland. We think this test was excessive – not reasonable, material or fair – or, based on a misunderstanding or the wrong product (a previous version of the product, which is not in the market anymore).
We, also, think, that the Test Conclusion of the Bundesnetzagentur is sufficient and rules.
Our Customer in Iceland has made a strong protest against this test conclusion in Iceland, based on the approval of the product in Germany, and they have appealed to the authorities in charge with the demand that this test conclusion would be reversed."