Microsoft's Cortana Won't Talk to Kids Under 13, Says It's a COPPA Thing

Paul Lilly

Child protection laws prevent Cortana from interacting with kids under 13 years old

Here's something interesting -- if you're planning to purchase a Windows Phone device for your child who's not yet 13-years-old, be aware that the Cortana voice assistant software will give him or her the silent treatment . The revelation came in a Microsoft forum post in which a father asked why Cortana was telling his daughter she needs to be older to use that feature.

"I'm sorry, you'll need to be a bit older before I can help you," Cortana tells people who are under 13-years-old.

Microsoft's Rob Chambers explained that his daughter, along with anyone with a Microsoft account listed as under 13, can't use Cortana because of "Cortana's highly personalized approach" and Microsoft's "efforts to comply with COPPA," or Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.

Cortana, which is similar to Google's Google Now and Apple's Siri software, is one of the highly touted features being rolled out with the Windows Phone 8.1 update. It's currently in beta form, so there's a chance Microsoft could offer a gimped version of Cortana that would be allowed to work on devices used by kids protected by COPPA.

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