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VTech Quietly Passes Privacy Responsibility to Customers

First published: 09th February 2016

Following a massive data privacy breach in November 2015, Hong Kong electronics manufacturer VTech quietly updated its Terms and Conditions on December 24 to absolve itself of responsibility for its customers' data.

Clause 7 of the new Terms and Conditions includes the sentence, "YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT ANY INFORMATION YOU SEND OR RECEIVE DURING YOUR USE OF THE SITE MAY NOT BE SECURE AND MAY BE INTERCEPTED OR LATER ACQUIRED BY UNAUTHORIZED PARTIES." and continues to say that they will not be liable for and loss or damages. VTech sells toys that require registration on VTech's Learning Lodge site that allows downloading of apps, learning games, e-books and other educational content to the products. The registration includes the first name, gender and birthday of the children and names, email addresses, passwords, and home addresses of their parents. Thus, the Terms and Conditions seek to absolve VTech of responsibility for securing personal data. This is in conflict with the requirements of Hong Kong's Personal Data Privacy Ordinance, so it is doubtful whether the attempt could succeed.

Yui Kee's Chief Consultant, Allan Dyer, commented, "Having been caught not protecting their customers' data, VTech has decided to continue being irresponsible. This is a clear indication that they have no intention to mend their ways or become a responsible company."

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