Transparency Should Be First Priority For Users Of Smart Home Technology
While smart homes do provide us with more convenience, we should not be forgetting potential bugs in the system.
If we’d have done that with Facebook when it started, we might have been able to balance its convenience with the fact that it makes money mostly by creating detailed personal profiles of each of us — and then selling that information.
The most recent controversy is regarding Cloud Cam which is a service by Amazon that allows customers to integrate Alexa and other Amazon products into one package. It turns out that Amazon employees may be viewing the Cloud Cam footage albeit under tight security protocols. While the company claims that it is only to improve performance, the captured videos include sexual activity, private time, and other sensitive data.
Amazon maintains that any footage viewed is when sent voluntarily by customers or employee testers. Since most of their screeners are from low-wage countries, the protocols in place might not very effective at all. Thankfully, these system vulnerabilities have triggered discussions within Amazon on how they could do better. Besides the fact that actual people are listening in to our conversations, this makes it all the more easier for someone to hack into the system. The only thing we can do is ask the necessary questions before starting to use a new smart gadget.
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