Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the TidBITS Content Network for Apple consultants.

Your Smart Home Could Be Spying On You

Gizmodo’s Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu teamed up to learn the extent to which home automation devices report back to their manufacturers and leak personal information. Hill filled her house with smart devices, including an Amazon Echo, lights, coffee maker, TV, and even a bed. Then she had Surya monitor how much data was sent out by the devices. The results may shock you. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the worst offender was the Amazon Echo, which contacted Amazon’s servers every few minutes, even when the “Alexa” wake word and the microphone were turned off. favicon follow link

 

Comments about Your Smart Home Could Be Spying On You

To leave a comment, click Add a Comment and then enter the text, your name, and your email address (which won't be displayed). Your comment will appear after you follow a link in the one-time confirmation message we send to verify that you're a real person.
Receive comments via RSS
Randy Spydell  An apple icon for a TidBITS Angel 2018-02-13 13:00
I bought Nest Protect alarms and learned that they communicate far too often with the Nest Mother Ship. I submitted a request to Nest to allow me to turn off this feature and let me update the firmware manually on my schedule, not theirs. My request was denied and I sent all of the detectors back. Think about it -- the Nest Protect (or any other device connected to the Internet) is constantly watching within its range in your home, and it can report on this activity. If motion detection (remember the arm-waving of the Nest Protect gadgets?) is part of its game, then any hacker can notify his burglary subcontractors that nobody is home and there has been no activity for the last 3 days, or 2 weeks, whatever. It is essential that those of us concerned with our privacy and security develop our own responsible behaviour, use a VPN, and other secure habits and setups. I think the Nest Protect is (or was if they've changed its behavior) a far more egregious offender than this report on the Amazon Echo.
Reply