A few months back Gizmodo reporter Kashmir Hill installed a home automation system in her apartment. With the aid of a specially build router based on a Raspberry Pi, she carefully monitored it’s outbound traffic over several weeks because, in her words, she wanted to know “whether it would betray me”.
Unsurprisingly she found multiple devices constantly phoning home although with most of the data she admitted “I don’t know ultimately where it was shared”.
While many businesses in the UK are less than enthusicastic about the work involved in implementing the new EU GDPR legislation, many Americans are eying our new privacy laws with an amount of cautious envy.
On top of the security and privacy concerns Hill also felt that contemporary smart home systems were also less than convenient…
“Things didn’t work, the smart coffee was horrible, Alexa didn’t understand us and my take-away was that the privacy trade-off was not worth it.”
She was quick to discover the pitfalls of the modern budget smart home setup…
I had to download 14 different apps to my phone to control everything, which meant creating an account for each one of those apps. (Yes, my coffeemaker has a log-in and a very long terms of service agreement.)
…and ultimately figured out the number one problem with this whole thing is…
The fantasy of the smart home is that it will save us time and effort, but the friction involved in getting various devices from different companies to work together meant that many things took longer to do.
If you consider yourself a techie it’s unlikely any of this will surprise you. So do you care if your TV is phoning home or that Philips know what time you brush your teeth? Is this scaremongering for the uninformed, or genuine cause for concern? Let us know what you think in the comments below.