Wow, I had never heard that one, but you appear to be right They were in fact banned from several government offices. The logic is apparently that they could be used to record conversations. Very odd.
-------------------- "Accompanied by the ghosts of dolphins, the ghost of a ship sailed on..." Terry Pratchett Posts: 660 | From: Gainesville, FL | Registered: Dec 2005
| IP: Logged |
There was quite a bit of discussion in the press about this in the late 90's, all due to a misunderstanding of Furby's actual capabilities.
Because they were capable of so many behaviors/and words, which changed as they were exposed to different environmental factors, people began to exaggerate and speculate on their Furby's capabilities. Alas, the Furbies also tended to respond rather, shall we say, psychotically, keeping their owners up all night with their furbish festivities. You were supposed to be able to tell them to go to sleep, but not unlike Chuckie, they would wake up making demands,or dancing/singing, with no way to turn them off. I finally murdered mine, ripping his helpless little body to shreds in an attempt to get some sleep.
There now is a new Furby on the market. It doesn't do nearly as much as the old one, and in a masochistic sort of way, I am disappointed.
When the Furbies were first popular, I heard all kinds of stories like "my furby can say my name." Furbies never could record anything or learn words that weren't already recorded in it's little "brain." Some people were convinced that the feature of "learning" to speak english (being programmed to start speaking more of their installed english words in addition to the "furbish" gibberish they spoke in when they were "born") really meant that they could learn any new word.
People who said they were saying new things (like names) that they weren't already programmed to say, either were mistaken due to our natural inclination to make sense of things that sometimes make no sense, or they were telling tales to make themselves and their toys seem more special. It was nearly always children who made the claims their Furby could say their name, etc. Children are more inclined to be imaginative.
It's funny to me that government agencies would ban it without ever bothering to find out the true capabilities of the toy.
I had a couple Furbies I got during the craze, but I never had an issue with them waking me up. If you put them to "sleep" only moving them would wake them back up. When I got tired of them, I had put mine in an enclosed container, where the darkness put them to "sleep". Months later, I moved the container, forgetting they were inside, and it took me awhile to figure out where the noises were coming from.
Posts: 550 | From: Springboro, OH | Registered: Feb 2006
| IP: Logged |
In retrospect, maybe the ban was not so paranoid.
While the Furby out of the box was not a security risk, it may be easy to open one up and modify/change the inner workings. Beter to ban the item completely than to try and determine if it was a malfunctioning toy or working espionage tool.
Here's what happened....an employee at the National Security Agency submitted a question to Security saying that furbies recorded and responded to learned sounds and asking if furbies were allowed in NSA spaces. It's untrue that they record, but the person believed it. Security responded that all devices capable of recording were forbidden from classified areas, and that this would certainly include furbies if they could record, or be modified to record. Someone (illegally) leaked this to the press which ran with the story as if furbies in particular were banned. There has never been a specific ban on furbies.
-------------------- Don't Forget! Winter Solstice Hanukkah Christmas Kwanzaa & Gurnenthar's Ascendance Are Coming! Posts: 8671 | From: Washington, DC | Registered: Feb 2000
| IP: Logged |