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Worry about spying on furniture

Worry about spying on furniture

Worry about spying on furniture

When Amazon bought the robot vacuum cleaner company iRobot, many people were quick to try to stop the company from collecting their personal information.

In early August, Amazon struck a $1.7 billion deal. As a result, many people want ways to protect personal information and ways to prevent manufacturers from accessing their personal information.

“It’s all about personal data,” says David Vail, expert at the Australian Privacy Foundation (APF). Privacy advocates like Vail fear Amazon will help gather information about consumer lifestyles through iRobot’s multi-product mapping capability.

Amazon hasn’t disclosed what it will do with iRobot’s data sources, but has emphasized that it always ensures user privacy and does not sell the data.

“Technology companies have always focused on data collection. All of their products and services are lures to attract customers for unsuspecting users. They are increasingly trying to spy on and influence their users,” he said.

Roomba robot vacuum cleaner and user home map function.  Photo: PCMag.

Roomba robot vacuum cleaner and user home map function. See: PCMag

Small amounts of data from smart devices help manufacturers study consumer habits and find ways to sell more products. You can also record conversations and photos at home, but there is always a risk of hackers breaking in to collect personal information.

In terms of security, the safest homes are those without modern equipment. “The simple answer is: don’t use them. Every new device comes at the expense of data security and user privacy. The simpler the system, the better,” said Vaile.

Simplifying your smart devices means you have to turn off certain features and be careful about the devices you choose to buy. Andre Lackman, an IT professional in Sydney, keeps many modern devices but no surveillance cameras in his home to limit security and privacy risks.

“Imagine what would happen if I lost the data. I wouldn’t have much of a problem if the manufacturer or the hacker got the data when the lights were on or the temperature in the living room. What if they got the video? bedroom, that would be very dangerous,” he said.

Matt Furnell and Justin Kern, experts at JFK Automation, a smart home installation company, say the key to data security is staying away from all cloud services and internet-connected devices. “Once you go online, you’re in the hands of the manufacturers. They’re limited in what you can give them,” Furnell said.

Cloud connectivity is a feature associated with many devices, but users can find a solution for many products, e.g. B. Transferring images from security cameras to hard drives stored at home instead of synchronizing them with hard drives on the manufacturer’s servers. If users want to opt out of cloud technology, support for speakers like Alexa or Siri should be removed.

For customers concerned about privacy, JFK Automation completely separates the system from the internet. As a result, users have to give up the ability to control devices remotely and manage them using offline apps.

Placing smart devices in a network layer separate from computers and phones increases security. “I created a separate network for all home automation products and another network layer for personal data devices like computers. When smart devices break, they get stripped of their data. That’s important,” said Lackmann.

To find out how many products in the home are internet dependent, Furnell suggests consumers go off the network for a short time and see which devices are no longer working. You can disconnect this device from the internet when you decide you no longer need to be connected.

Disabling voice support and covering home cameras when not needed are also protective measures for users.

Some devices have the ability to prevent analytics data from being shared with the manufacturer, but may still store personal information that the user must manually delete. But Vail warns that tweaking privacy settings only gives a “false sense of control.”

“Choosing intact metadata is important for consumers and manufacturers. If you want to have a smart home, you have to accept that you’re trading with a lot of privacy information,” Vail added.

diving ann (Consequences telegraph)

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