More Privacy Concerns – This Time With Smart Home Data

Privacy concerns are being raised not only in data breaches on social networks, financial institutions, retail businesses but now in the areas of data being collected from smart home apps.

Many consumers now use popular voice assistant apps from Google and Amazon for almost everything. 

They’re not just being used for home security purposes but even extend to internet-connected refrigerators, lighting and toilets of all things.

These apps provide conveniences to help users with their everyday tasks such as turning on lights, music, turning on or changing TV channels, turning appliances on and off, or locking doors with just the use of their voice.

However, with the always-on features of these voice activated internet-connected devices there are concerns as to how much data is being gathered and what these apps are doing with all that information – private information.

Private information such as when you go to sleep for the night, when you leave your home and return, how often you open that refrigerator door, watch TV, etc.  

As an example, when Alexa is asked to turn on your smart bulb, a code is transmitted to the device to first check to see if the bulb was on or off, then when it receives confirmation that it is off will then turn it on.  To do this, the device must always be on.

The thing to know is that Google and Amazon are more and more requiring device makers to develop their appliances to continuously transmit data whether their devices are off or on.

The big question is whether or not users are completely aware of this and are they being asked permission to have their private data shared on a continuous basis.

The fear is that Google and Amazon are using the collected data from their always-on devices for targeted marketing purposes. They’re response is that they are using all that mass amounts of smart appliance data collected to better service the user with information through advertising for possibility of fulfilling other needs.

For instance, as the smart bulb device detects your child’s lights going off at bedtime, advertisements would be directed to you regarding such things as apps for nursery rhymes, or bedtime music, etc.