Smart Devices can spy on us. It’s time to protect yourself

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Data obtained from smart gadgets that have integrated a virtual assistant can provide details of how a couple relationship is.

Devices can record intimate conversations and find out where a particular person is. This way, these devices can spy on a person and find out even if they have an extramarital relationship.

With the help of sensors, virtual assistants can show when a person has left a building or if there are several people in a room.

The problem is that this delicate information can be used for research, but can also be kept in Cloud or even sold to partner companies.

The warning comes from the data analyst Ashwin Machanavajjhala, who states that people do not realize the dangers that these smart gadgets used in the home can represent.

‘I’m waiting for privacy protections to come in. We need to know what is being collected about us, whether or not we have anything to hide.’

‘Once data is on the cloud users lose control over it. There is little transparency about who it is shared with.’

This category includes virtual assistants, smart light bulbs, smart TVs and devices equipped with different sensors. Unfortunately, companies that make these devices do not have a very clear privacy policy that they collect.

Smart devices: how to protect your privacy

Of course, there are various things that you can do in order to protect yourself. First, make sure that you are not buying smart devices from unpopular brands. Especially cheap brands from China. I would stay away from those cheap security cameras, because you don’t really know what type of traffic they will do on your network. Next, if you want to be safe, make sure to access all the security options of your smart device and see what’s enabled there. You might be able to tweak the device in order to make it safer. Last, before buying a new smart device, take your time to investigate about its history. The internet is packed with information about everything. If that device posed a security risk in the past, you will learn about it.

In response, an Amazon spokesman said Echo devices, which work with Alexa virtual assistant, record conversations only after they receive an activation word and can be shut down on order. In addition, users can delete audio recordings through Alexa App.

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