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Roybi robots are displayed at the Roybi booth during a press event for CES 2020 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre on January 5 in Las Vegas. Photo: Agence France-Presse

Privacy, once hidden topic, gets attention at CES tech show

  • Change comes after two years in which technology companies faced the reckoning of rising privacy concerns

Once a hidden and under-the-radar topic, privacy has received more attention at the CES trade show in Las Vegas this week.

Start-ups now volunteer information about how they are securing your data and protecting your privacy when you use their heart rate monitor or cuddly robot.

Roybi robot, an alien-looking machine that teaches kids languages and other skills, has a camera with facial recognition that can remember children and guess whether the kid was excited or sad after a lesson.

Creator Roybi said the robot uses that information to make changes to its lessons. But the US$199 robot also comes with a sticker, so parents can block the camera if they want.

Call it the Consumer Surveillance Show. At CES, the ‘smart home’ tech spies could hack

“We want to make sure we give people choices,” said Roybi founder and chief executive Elnaz Sarraf, who said parents questioned the lens. “When it comes to children, people are more sensitive.”

Caregiver Smart Solutions, which makes products for caregivers to track the elderly remotely, decided to do away with cameras, declaring them too intrusive. The company opted instead for small sensors that monitor when doors are opened and closed.

After two years in which technology companies faced the reckoning of rising privacy concerns, the message seems to be setting in: The way you use customers’ information can no longer be ignored.

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