Huawei Watch Kids 4 Pro

Warning: *privacy not included with this product

Huawei Watch Kids 4 Pro

Huawei
Bluetooth

Review date: Nov. 9, 2022

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Super creepy

Want to track your kids everywhere in every way? I mean, really track them? This kids-focused smartwatch is for you. Call your kids with either voice or HD video right from their wrist, track them anywhere with what Huawei calls, "9-system AI positioning," get notifications if you kid leaves a "safe area" you set up, even track how many hours your kid spends outside in the sun. So much tracking. There's also activity tracking, flashing lights to make your kids more visible in the dark, and even a feature that lets your kid shake their wrist when around another kid with this watch to add them as a friend. Lots and lots of features, some of them kinda creepy, some of them kinda fun. The big question is, should you trust your kid's information with Chinese-owned Huawei? Well, privacy isn't exactly what Huawei's is known for.

What could happen if something goes wrong?

Uhg, this smart watch for kids does not seem good for privacy at all. It currently receives all the privacy dings we can give it -- for how they use your data, for how you can control (or not) your data, and for their bad track record at protecting and respecting their users’ privacy.

Huawei’s privacy policy says they can collect a whole lot of data on their users, including data from third party sources they describe as “public or legitimate commercial sources.” This means they can collect data on you from social media accounts, or potentially even data brokers. That’s on top of all this device can collect such as name, email address, mobile number, location, contacts, body-related information and more. Add to that the body-related data it can also collect like activity and sleep and, yeah, it’s collecting a lot of data.

And when it comes to protecting all that child personal information, well, Huawei does have a rather hard-to-read children’s privacy protection statement that any parent who buys this smartwatch for their kid should take a look at. In fact, the privacy statement even says, “Children must ask their guardians to carefully read this Statement and seek permission or guidance from their guardians before using our products or services or providing information to us,” which is some next-level pushing the responsibility for privacy off on the consumer from the company if you ask us.

If you do read that statement, you’ll see that Huawei says that child accounts are required for children under 14 (or the legal privacy age in your country) and that they have a “child mode” for kids accounts. The good news is, Huawei promises to “automatically disable personalized ads and direct marketing features and provide content that is appropriate for children when use by a child is detected.” And, they require two-factor authentication to help protect your kids' data. The bad news is, they also say “we may also collect and use other personal information of the child” for purposes outlined in their privacy policy. Those purposes are pretty broad, as is potentially their sharing among their business affiliates, partners, third party service providers, and even public or government authorities.

Another thing to note, especially for consumers in the US and some European countries. Huawei's 5G technology is blocked in the US, as the company is labeled a national security threat in the country. Many other countries have issued bans on some of Huawei’s technology too. What does that mean for Huawei's smart watches that are still popular in Europe and elsewhere around the world? For us, it raises some serious privacy questions.

And while China has recently put in place a sweeping new privacy protection law, there are questions about how much access the Chinese government has to personal information collected and stored within China. All in all, it seems to us there are safer options for smart watches for kids when it comes to protecting your privacy and security. What’s the worst that could happen with a 9-point AI location tracking, HD-video capturing, microphone included smart watch designed for kids ages 4 and up? Well, here’s hoping that front-facing camera on the watch is never compromised because having your kid spied on by a very bad person is about as creepy as it gets.

One final consideration. This device tracks the location, activity, and has a camera and microphone built-in. Parents should ask themselves, is the information this smartwatch for kids collects something I want gathered and potentially accessible to others if there were a data leak or security vulnerability? Also, we think there is a good question to be raised about teaching young children that this level of digital surveillance in their lives is OK. Maybe we should track kids a little bit less, and teach them constant surveillance isn’t a good thing?

Tips to protect yourself

  • Parents, keep a sharp eye on parent controls and permissions.
  • Be very careful what third party companies you consent to share you health data with. If you do decided to share your health data with another company, read their privacy policy to see how they protect, secure, and share or sell your data.
  • Do not sign up with third-party accounts. Better just log in with email and strong password.
  • Chose a strong password! You may use a password control tool like 1Password, KeePass etc
  • Use your device privacy controls to limit access to your personal information via app (do not give access to your camera, microphone, images, location unless neccessary)
  • Keep your app regularly updated
  • Limit ad tracking via your device (eg on iPhone go to Privacy -> Advertising -> Limit ad tracking) and biggest ad networks (for Google, go to Google account and turn off ad personalization)
  • Request your data be deleted once you stop using the app. Simply deleting an app from your device usually does not erase your personal data.
  • When starting a sign-up, do not agree to tracking of your data if possible.
mobile Privacy warning Security A.I.

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: Yes

App: No

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: No

Tracks location

Device: Yes

App: Yes

What can be used to sign up?

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

The purposes and recepients for sharing children personal data are not specified.

"Please note that in cases where we cannot identify or will not try to determine whether the personal information collected and processed belongs to a child, we will collect and process the personal information in accordance with the Huawei Consumer Business Privacy Statement and privacy statements (if any) for the specific products or services concerned."

"We will strictly limit instances of the entrusted processing, sharing, transfer, and public disclosure of children's personal information in accordance with laws and regulations."

"If Huawei shares or transfers children's personal information to a third party, Huawei will perform a security assessment of the sharing practice and the recipient, and sign pertinent agreements, such as a data protection agreement, with the third party."

"Sharing with Huawei's business partners: To ensure the quality of services provided to you, Huawei may share your order, account, device, and location information with our third-party partners. However, we will only share your personal data for legal, appropriate, necessary, specific, and clear purposes. We will only share personal data that is necessary for providing these services. Our partners include:

(1) Third-party sellers and developers: Some of our products and services are provided directly to you by third parties. In this case, Huawei will share transaction-related information with third parties to fulfill the requirements for the goods or services you have purchased. For example, when you purchase products from third-party developers in HUAWEI AppGallery, we will share the necessary information with the developer to complete the transaction."

How can you control your data?

It is unclear if all users can get their data deleted.

"Legislation in some countries and regions to which Huawei provides products and services stipulates that data subjects have the right to access, rectify, or delete related personal data retained by Huawei. In such countries and regions, data subjects or their agents may make requests (hereinafter referred to as "requests") to access, rectify, or delete relevant personal data retained by Huawei."

What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?

Needs Improvement

In January 2020, Huawei reported a vulnerability regarding encryption of its phones.

There are also several reports of Huawei participating in development of technologies for violation of human rights. In 2020, it was reported that Huawei developed AI software used to suppress Uighur minorities in China. In 2019, the company was linked to building wireless networks in North Korea.

Huawei is labeled a national security threat by the United States.

Child Privacy Information

"Huawei's personal and home products are for adult use only. However, in relation to the use of Huawei products and services by children, we are fully aware of the importance of taking extra precautions to protect their privacy and security. Huawei defines data subjects as children if they have not reached the age of 18 or if they have not reached the age of majority defined by laws of the local countries and regions.

When the personal data of children is collected with the authorization of the parent or guardian, we will only use or disclose the information as permitted by law, explicitly authorized by the holders of parental responsibility, or required for protecting the children. Holders of parental responsibility, who need to access, modify, or delete the personal data of children under their guardianship can contact us via the channels provided in "How Huawei Protects Your Personal Data".

If Huawei inadvertently collects the personal data of children without obtaining authorization from provable holders of parental responsibility, Huawei will delete the information as soon as possible once it is aware of the issue."

Can this product be used offline?

Yes

With very limited functionality

User-friendly privacy information?

No

Very hard-to-read policies

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Huawei has a bug bounty program. They also have a dedicated Product Security Incident Response Team.

Privacy policy

Yes

Does the product use AI? information

Yes

"The built-in 9-System AI Positioning1 in HUAWEI WATCH KIDS 4 Pro lets you see where they are fast, with pin-point accuracy. The service supports GPS, Beidou, GLONASS, A-GPS,WLAN positioning, base station positioning, roaming positioning, accelerometer-assisted positioning, and SOS camera assisted positioning. And when you go travelling it's got you covered, thanks to roaming support."

Is this AI untrustworthy?

Can’t Determine

What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?

Spotting where you child is located.

Is the company transparent about how the AI works?

Can’t Determine

Does the user have control over the AI features?

Can’t Determine

*privacy not included

Dive Deeper

  • Huawei Watch Kids 4 Pro Product Support
    Huawei
  • The Best Smartwatches and Phones for Kids
    The New York Times
  • The Best Smartwatches For Kids (And Parents) To Stay Connected
    Forbes
  • Smartwatch Privacy for Kids During the Coronavirus Pandemic
    Common Sense
  • HUAWEI WATCH KIDS 4 Pro: A Safe and Healthy Companion throughout your Kids’ Growth
    Digital Reg

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