Adelaide, Australia; 19 April 2019: Australian wearables technology innovator MGM Wireless has released the following statement in response to media reports this week about security vulnerabilities in some children’s smartwatch phones.
The Company, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (MWR), commissioned an extensive audit of its Australian-designed SPACETALK [PC1] device by globally recognised researchers last year to ensure it met the most rigorous safety standards, and has continued to respond to expert advice in the changing security landscape.
This statement about the SPACETALK audit follows reports in the Sydney Morning Herald (16/4/2019).
MGM Wireless founder and Executive Chair Mark Fortunatow said that, by contrast, security had been embedded into every aspect of the SPACETALK device from the start, on the strong foundation of the company’s years of experience developing mobile communication technology for independent schools and education departments around Australia.
“We’ve been advising consumers for a long time about security and privacy concerns in some watches and we have taken great care to conduct thorough penetration testing and numerous other tests throughout the whole ecosystem of watch and app,” Mr Fortunatow said.
“Our lead researcher, Dr Matthew Sorell, has extraordinary credibility and his report reasserts SPACETALK’s position as a leader in security and privacy for children’s smartwatch phones and GPS tracker technology.”
Dr Sorell is an academic member of the INTERPOL Digital Forensics Experts Group and digital investigations consultant to law enforcement agencies including SA Police and Victoria Police. He is also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Adelaide and Adjunct Professor of Digital Forensics at the Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia, focused on criminal investigations related to wearable devices
Dr Sorell’s Cyber Security Audit of Children’s Smartwatch Phones agrees with research findings reported in Australian and overseas media.
Dr Sorell said that he had found potential security breaches in all the models his team reviewed except SPACETALK – and that the severity of these breaches fell into the category of “notifiable” to federal authorities.
“We released our first report last year, in which we commended MGM’s engineering team for world-leading best practice security, encryption and authentication,” Dr Sorell said.
“Research students under my supervision in three countries have continued with the audit to encompass software, hardware and societal changes that could impact on device security and child safety.”
Dr Sorell said that watch manufacturers would be well aware of the reported security flaws.
“The Norwegian Consumer Council published a report identifying serious privacy and security flaws in four GPS-enabled watches for children, as far back as 2017,” he said.
It took four years for MGM Wireless to develop SPACETALK to ensure the world’s highest standards in relation to security, safety and privacy. SPACETALK prevents access to the internet and the nasties of social media.
Mr Fortunatow added that all technology providers have a duty of care.
 Entities have data breach notification obligations when a data breach is likely to result in serious harm to any individuals whose personal information is involved in the breach.
About the Cyber Security Audit of Children’s Smartwatch Phones
Dr Matthew Sorell conducted a review of SPACETALK’s technical security mechanisms and compliance with policy and regulations in the Australian market, encompassing informed consent, legal requirements for retaining customer records, and measures required to secure private information.
The report covered:
- Opportunistic technical hacking
- Targeted technical hacking
- The rights of the child to privacy and self-determination and how this fits with parental rights and responsibilities
- Why do children go missing?
- Beyond the nuclear family: helicopter parenting in the age of the blended family
- Unsafe contact scenarios: stalking, domestic violence and parental conflict
- Reporting a missing person – interaction with law enforcement
- Responding to warrants and orders
- Data retention and reporting responsibilities
The report concludes:
The SPACETALK and AllMyTribe ecosystem uses best practice security for authenticated and encrypted communications between subsystems, and best practice identity authentication.
Technical security of the SPACETALK Watch and the AllMyTribe ecosystem is implemented well and is appropriate for purpose.
The ecosystem has been further enhanced to meet with the most stringent European privacy requirements and GDPR.
“Overall, the technical security and privacy measures implemented in the SPACETALK ecosystem exceed contemporary levels of security appropriate today, as well as providing some breathing space for future development,” Dr Sorell said.
Dr Sorell points out that no IT system is entirely immune to a sufficiently determined attacker. A properly configured security framework is multi-layered, incorporating best practice defences; monitoring and notifications; proactive means for staying informed about emerging security threats; effective mechanisms for users to report bugs and issues; and a timely, open and public discussion about security and privacy product developments.
“It is evident that MGM Wireless designed their software and systems with the highest levels of data security and privacy in mind,” he said. “In addition, they are proactive in promptly addressing potential issue that could occur now or in future in our ever-changing security threat landscape.”
About MGM Wireless (ASX:MWR)
MGM Wireless Limited is a technology company designing, developing and commercialising smartphone+watch wearables devices for children, and software for school communication and student absence management.
The Company’s AllMyTribe division has developed a children’s all-in-one smartphone, watch and GPS device called SPACETALK, which allows two-way 3G phone calls and SMS messaging to a parent-controlled list of contacts. Other features include GPS tracking to alert parents whenever children leave designated safe spaces, such as school or the home.
Importantly – a key safety feature of SPACETALK is that it doesn’t give children access to social media, apps, open internet, YouTube or other such services dangerous to young children.
MGM Wireless built its track record with school communication solutions after discovering in 2002 the application of SMS communication in schools. The Company went on to create the world’s first SMS based Automated Student Absence Notification Solution and many other innovations since then. It is recognised as a global leader and pioneer in socially responsible and technology-enabled school communication.
MGM Wireless products include student absence notifications ‘messageyou’, absence analytics software ‘Watchlists’, school news and messaging app ‘School Star’, a content management and messaging platform for mobile school communication called Outreach+, and student attendance management solution ‘RollMarker’.
Used by over 1400 schools and 1.7 million parents, the Company’s school communication solutions empower schools to effectively communicate and engage parents and caregivers through SMS, mobile in-app and other means to improve student attendance and safety, help schools reduce operating costs and increase parent engagement. ##
Mark Fortunatow, Executive Chairman and CEO
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