Smart Home Device Privacy and Security

By Joe Callison
7 March 2021

The use of voice-activated devices, smart TVs, and other smart devices, are becoming more and more common in our daily lives. So much so that we usually do not even give a second thought to reviewing the terms and conditions for privacy and security information when installing them, or bother to look at the relative settings when setting them up. Perhaps we are being a little too trusting of the companies producing the devices to look out for our best interests.  

Consumer Reports recently published an article on “How to Turn Off Smart TV Snooping Features”. I was not aware of the amount and types of personal information being collected from a smart TV if you allow it by not adjusting the settings. It is well worth reading and has instructions for disabling the snooping features on many of the major brands.

ZDNet, a popular publisher of articles on technology, recently published “Why would you ever trust Amazon’s Alexa after this?” It reveals an overly lax attitude by Amazon about protecting your privacy and security when using their voice-activated devices, especially with third-party “skills”. It is also well worth reading, and I have no doubt similar concerns should apply to competing products from other companies.

If you use an Alexa device, the following Digitaltrends link has some helpful information and tips on privacy and security.

It appears that at least for now the onus is on us as consumers to educate ourselves on the privacy and security issues related to using a device and making the appropriate decisions on the available settings to mitigate the concerns if we are going to use them. We can’t take for granted that government agencies or consumer advocates are going to keep us protected from unknowingly revealing more information to others than we might be comfortable with.

Posted by Joe Callison

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