Microsoft’s Siri-like Cortana service doesn’t talk to kids

Microsoft Cortana, a voice activated virtual assistant for Windows Phone 8.1 named after Halo’s AI character, will not talk to kids.

Like Apple’s Siri on iPhone, Cortana’s speech recognition allows users to ask it questions and perform specific tasks. Cortana also collects data on users in the process in order to improve the experience over time, meaning it is subject to the US government’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

COPPA’s policies insure that children under the age of 13 can’t share information online without the approval of a parent. According to GameSpot sister site CNET, at this point in development Cortana doesn’t have any parental controls, so if you’re listed as being younger than 13 on your Microsoft account and try to use Cortana, she’ll respond with, “I’m sorry, you’ll need to be bit older before I can help you.”

Cortana is currently available in beta to developers on Windows Phone 8.1. Support for other Microsoft devices like Windows computers and Xbox consoles could come later.

Emanuel Maiberg is a freelance writer. You can follow him on Twitter @emanuelmaiberg and Google+.

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