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Furby a threat to national security?

Furby January 13, 1999
Web posted at: 11:27 a.m. EST (1627 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Can the cute, popular toy Furby be a threat to national security? The government thinks so, and has banned it from National Security Agency premises in Maryland.

Furby is embedded with a computer chip that allows it to record words. Because of that ability, NSA officials were worried "that people would take them home and they'd start talking classified," one Capitol Hill source told The Washington Post.

In a warning to employees, the NSA said, "Personally owned photographic, video and audio recording equipment are prohibited items. This includes toys, such as 'Furbys,' with built-in recorders that repeat the audio with synthesized sound to mimic the original signal."

"We are prohibited from introducing these items into NSA spaces. Those who have should contact their Staff Security Office for guidance," a memo said.

Furby resembles an owl, with tufts of hair between its huge pink ears.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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