Windows Phone 8.1 limits use of Cortana to people 13 years old and up

If you use a smartphone with Windows Phone 8.1 and its Cortana digital assistant installed, make sure you are at least 13 years old if you want to hear the voice of Jen Taylor. That's the official word from Microsoft after some people who downloaded the developer preview version of the OS found that younger kids were not allowed to use Cortana.

This new rule was confirmed by a Microsoft rep in their Answers message board this week after some users, such as "stocktiki", noticed something odd when their children tried to use Cortana with their own Microsoft Account profile. It seems that if a profile is for a person younger than 13 years old, Cortana offers the message, "I'm sorry, you'll need to be a bit older before I can help you."

Microsoft launched its Kid's Corner feature as part of Windows Phone 8, which allows parents a way to let their children use their device but under their own accounts, so that kids can't access material that is inappropriate for their age. It would appear that the use of Cortana is considered one of those features that Microsoft is barring from that age group.

Source: Microsoft Answers via WPCentral | Image via "stocktiki"

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Microsoft really pushes this Children's Online Privacy Protection ! in K12 Schools you need all this crazy stuff for your kids that are under 13 to use Microsoft Office 365 but Google you need NOTHING !! and they even state that they are using this information for advertising? How do they get away with it .. Simple just like they did with android, use others patterns and wait 3 years for someone to come after you and say. Ops ... after they have 80% market share so users get ticked off... They are doing the same for Schools, Who is going to tell a school system that they need to get off google once they have all the kids using it...
Microsoft is doing the right thing here but its just So not fair that others can just ignore the Law and get away with it..
Just My RANT... :)

hagjohn said,
that would be bad parenting.
+1. Unless you want a 1984-style police state people will always break laws. Doesn't mean the laws are dumb, the law-breakers are.

hagjohn said,
that would be bad parenting.

Yeah, but living in belief that there are no bad parents (or simply parents that don't understand tech and will make it work as easily and fast as possible) is being a bad citizen, because these people do exist, in masses, and making rules and laws and guides that we all know they (a majority) wont follow is absolutely stupid. Its like imagining that we live in some sort of utopia where everyone follows best practises and guidelines for all aspects of life and we as a species all live in absolute harmony - well not quite but you get my point).

The majority of people get around rules they don't consider bad, the majority don't consider their kids using a phone/tablet bad, with zero controls. The majority moan when it goes wrong or systems change to make them more secure by making them less convenient (I always use the physical analogy here, locks on doors are normal but imagine a world where they are considered a pain because there is little crime or the result of someone breaking in is a reinstall - security is doors with locks and you need keys and its accepted, computer policies are similar but I feel this one is stupid, simply because the reality of the rule is people adding kids with false ages - that doesn't benefit anyone.

Romero said,
+1. Unless you want a 1984-style police state people will always break laws. Doesn't mean the laws are dumb, the law-breakers are.

I was thinking more along the lines of protecting your children from online predators, than worrying about a "law".

hagjohn said,

I was thinking more along the lines of protecting your children from online predators, than worrying about a "law".

Protecting your kids should never come in the form of new stautes or laws, protecting kids is a parents responsibility and I have 3 kids, I accept full responsibility for all actions my kids take and will never blame A: School B: Society C: Other kids - all three are simply weak (but well believed) excuses for a lot of people, they all need to wake to feck up.

My point is - Make a law - decide a punishment - law is broken (at this point the 'law' is pointless as the crime is done) - legal system accuses person - goes to court (this is now purely revenge) - conviction - jail - release - same person (possibly or more likely worse due to jail influence) - repeat - STUPID system

Look, I get that this law is easy to circumvent, but then again someone who wants to break any law most likely will. Regulating what their kids access online is ultimately something only parents can and have to accept responsibility for, but as long as they do their best the law then stipulates how sites have to deal with data privacy for kids under a certain age. So for example even if you allow your kid to access say disney.com, what Disney can do with any personal info collected is limited by the law and I don't see how that's bad. Obviously obtaining foolproof age verification is impossible for any site unless we have some sort of intrusive non-anonymous system in place. Now if parents themselves are idiotic enough to enter false ages for their kids (why would they do this?) then of course they have no-one to pass the buck on to or blame save themselves if something untoward happens. Also kids nowadays are smart enough to get around most restrictions, which is where good parenting is again important and what sort of values they've inculcated and the trust they have counts.

duddit2 said,
My point is - Make a law - decide a punishment - law is broken (at this point the 'law' is pointless as the crime is done) - legal system accuses person - goes to court (this is now purely revenge) - conviction - jail - release - same person (possibly or more likely worse due to jail influence) - repeat - STUPID system
This is true for all laws. Doesn't mean just because people can't be stopped from say stealing or killing we should dispense with laws related to these and similarly all other crimes. Rehabilitation and prevention of recidivism are an entirely different aspect of the legal system than the laws themselves, and many countries have better solutions for these problems. For example see the comforts even sick ****s like Anders Behring Breivik can enjoy in Norway, but on the whole it does seem to work a whole lot better than what's followed in America: http://www.policymic.com/artic...m-america-can-only-dream-of However the fact that laws can be and are regularly broken and the existence of recidivism doesn't mean the laws themselves are all dumb/pointless and should be abolished.

Edited by Romero, Apr 19 2014, 3:29am :

yes but when a law is broken by so many people it may be that law that's broken, if you cant enforce it and most are getting around it then its serving very little purpose.

Romero said,
Ok, so what do you propose to improve the situation?

Start by stopping legislation being passed that doesn't take into account real world uses and use common sense.

So the parents who do act responsibly and do not enter fake ages for their kids should not expect corporations to behave responsibly when it comes to marketing to their kids or using their personal info for profit? You say this law doesn't help many, but does it hinder any? Must say I don't understand your POV here regarding not passing this law at all. It's not mean to excuse lazy or irresponsible parenting. Existence of the law isn't a deterrent to parents continuing to use common sense and exercising their primary responsibility towards their kids.

There needs to be an exception for emergency situations, even if it requires a change in the law. So, if a five year old, out walking with his mom, uses Cortana to report that his mom fell, hit her head, and is not moving, the kid doesn't hear the equivalent of "I'm sorry but you aren't old enough for me to help save your mom. Call again in eight years." It should at least use GPS to give emergency services the location. Of course, if he uses her account, this should not be an issue.

seeprime said,
There needs to be an exception for emergency situations, even if it requires a change in the law.

That's why you should teach your kids how to dial 911 (or whatever it is in their particular country).. not every kid has access to a cellphone anyway.

Dialing 9-1-1 from home is great. What if the people are in the "middle of nowhere" and the parent is passed out and the kid is panicky. GPS will pinpoint the location. I know 9-1-1 in our area doesn't use GPS. So, in this case Cortana could be of benefit.

Using Cortana or Siri or Google Now to search the net and somehow report an emergency is faster than just dialling 911? Really? How do people come up with such insane ideas anyway? Come up with a better excuse to justify why kids should have access to this.

seeprime said,
Dialing 9-1-1 from home is great. What if the people are in the "middle of nowhere" and the parent is passed out and the kid is panicky. GPS will pinpoint the location. I know 9-1-1 in our area doesn't use GPS. So, in this case Cortana could be of benefit.

Uh... 9-1-1 does use GPS and has for something near a decade now... This is required by FCC regulation...

You should really educate yourself... Cortana will not be faster than dialing 9-1-1 in an emergency.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E...9-1-1#Wireless_enhanced_911

scumdogmillionaire said,
...says the person that doesn't have a kid.

Did you have a Walkman or a Gameboy before you were 13? I sure did.

A smartphone is a different breed of device.

Dot Matrix said,

A smartphone is a different breed of device.

Disagree. It's the current iteration of these devices. My 5 year old daughter has a Lumia 520 with no SIM in it. She plays games and uses it for music and movies on the airplane.

And I guarantee my parents spent a whole lot more on my Gameboy and games and a Walkman, than the 49.99 that 520 cost.

siah1214 said,
Don't get why kids under 13 would be using a smartphone anyway

I would be more surprised kids under 13 would want a windows phone, with iphones and ipods being more popular among kids

anothercookie said,

I would be more surprised kids under 13 would want a windows phone, with iphones and ipods being more popular among kids

Only in the US I think. Here, kids want bigger screens and flashy gimmicks and moar megapixels. iPhones with their tiny screens feel more like overpriced toys in comparison. Also everyone and their grandmas have iPhones now. It's so not cool anymore.

DClark said,
The 12 year old nerd in me would be all over a phone featuring Cortana.

Yeah but can you buy an iphone for £70 off contract brand new and more to the point would you want to buy your child an expensive device like an iphone(which by its nature is a take everywhere device) before they earn trust or learn respect for value?

I'd say the £70 Lumia winds hands down as its a fully capable device at a fraction of the cost.

But real world calls and I see more and more patents simply not acting like parents and not thinking these things through, not using these kinds of situations to instill lessons their kids need to learn, blaming schools or society for their kids being ungrateful little shits.

So I don't know,I personally feel expensive toys have been devalued a lot lately, the contacts we sign up for give a lot of people the impression that expensive devices are free (I know a lot of people that when they discover the of contract price of top end smartphones are very surprised), with that comes the eroding of value to their kids for said devices and with that comes this feeling of that its a human right to have a smartphone or more to the point an iphone, fashion dictates a lot of this and power peer pressure does the rest.

I am thinking people forget that 8.1 is a Developer Preview. Therefore, it is highly likely that MS plans to address this but it was simply not shipped in Dev Preview because it is... well... a developer preview.

The restriction that this is based on for US is called COPPA, by the way.

This is law in the US isn't it? You can't use children information for advertising and related services.

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.

LogicalApex said,
This is law in the US isn't it? You can't use children information for advertising and related services.

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.

Get your facts straight it has been stated and restated that MS does not use Cortana for Advertising no matter what age you are.

With that said, I think you need to understand that the reason they are not leaving access to kids is because Cortana would do a wide search of the web. I do think that as they work more on Cortana they will allow kids to use it but this Is a beta version so no one should complaint.

nickcruz said,

Get your facts straight it has been stated and restated that MS does not use Cortana for Advertising no matter what age you are.

With that said, I think you need to understand that the reason they are not leaving access to kids is because Cortana would do a wide search of the web. I do think that as they work more on Cortana they will allow kids to use it but this Is a beta version so no one should complaint.

They aren't allowed to store information about kids without parental consent and there are limits on what they can store and do with it. A crap ton of stuff online block kids under 13 for this reason. 13 isn't an arbitrary number. It is the age limit set in law.

I doubt it will be expanding to persons under 13 anytime soon.

LogicalApex said,
This is law in the US isn't it? You can't use children information for advertising and related services.

Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.

Not entirely, it's not ment to prevent companies from saving information for advertising and related services, but for saving it for any matter.

nickcruz said,

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