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As reported by several news outlets like the Verge or ConsumerAffairs, the connected toys My Friend Cayla and the i-Que record what the kids say and send it back to a server to help answer kids' questions. The toys seem so insecure and the practice is on such weak legal grounds that an FTC complaint has already been filed.

My question is how do I keep those toys from sending data to cloud services and what kind of functionality do I lose when I cut them off from the Internet?

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    I would suggest that you configure your router to block outgoing packets to those sites. Of course, there will l be some lost functionality, but not much according to @Aurora0001 That seems better than a blanket ban on internet access from the device. – Mawg Dec 10 '16 at 16:26
  • Turns out, however, that others can pair their device with the doll and make it send. See Aurora0001's follow up question: iot.stackexchange.com/questions/1074/… – cbeleites supports Monica Feb 19 '17 at 21:51
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For the My Friend Cayla toy, you can use it without an Internet connection. The FAQ states:

Do I need an internet connection to play with Cayla?

An internet connection will be required to download the free app which unlocks all of the fun things which Cayla can do. Some functions, such as searching for information on the internet (famous people, places, time, weather, etc), require an internet connection. Cayla can do lots offline, like having conversations, playing games, reading stories, and exploring her photo album. In fact, most of the interactive play requires no internet connection at all.

To avoid Cayla sending data to the Internet, simply disconnect the phone/tablet that the toy is paired with from Wi-Fi and mobile data.

The case is similar for the i-Que. From their FAQ:

Do I need an internet connection to play with him?

Yes and No. Some functions, such as searching for information on the internet (famous people, places, time, weather, etc.), and voice recognition require an internet connection. But much of the interaction between the child and the robot can be done OFFLINE including having simple conversations back and forth, playing games, doing brain teasers, and program him to talk or move. In fact, most of the interactive play with the robot requires no internet connection at all.

Once again, to stop the i-Que from connecting to the Internet, ensure that any mobile device you pair with it does not have a connection to the Internet.

The toys cannot connect to the Internet by themselves, so you do not need to worry that they will send data secretly even if your phone is disconnected from the Internet.

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