How do Smart Home Devices Spy On Us?

How do Smart Home Devices Spy On Us?

Smart speakers, televisions, lock systems, thermostats, video doorbells, and security systems, smart home devices appear to be the stuff of modern life in the 21st century. Almost every home has one smart device or another. For tech-savvy homes, multiple smart devices are interconnected in a manner that gives a seaming control of our homes. These smart devices in recent times have become so popular. Their popularity has so much to do with the fact that they give users the ability to remotely control almost every aspect of their homes and keep an eye on personal property, even when not at home. For instance, smart cameras allow users to monitor their homes even when not around, with smart bulbs and a power system, we can turn on or turn off our bulbs from distance away. With smart devices, we can remotely check how our pets and kids are doing at home, turn on the thermostat and even lock/unlock doors. 

While all these appear to be good news, smart devices also pose a significant threat to us and our privacy. To function properly, these smart home devices collect a vast amount of data on our homes, our habits, location, and preferences. The degree of information collected by smart devices gives the impression that they are being used to spy on us. This sensitive information if taken control of by hackers could become an effective spying tool. 

In what follows, we examine how smart devices are spying on us and the risks associated with them. But before then, we might ask what smart devices are. Smart devices in general are electronic devices that function by connecting to the internet through the use of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. They also connect with other devices with the help of the internet and are enabled to communicate with them. Examples include smart TVs, bulbs, cameras, speakers and thermostats, etc. 

Smart devices collect a vast amount of data about users and the information a particular device collects depends on what it was designed to do and its terms of service. This information is then collected and relayed back to its manufacturers. For instance, Google’s smart voice assistant collects information about your location, it knows where you are, what your voice sounds like when you are at home, what you buy and what your musical preferences are, and the sort of movies you watch. Information like how they are being used, the location of the device and the location of the user, the rate at which a user is interacting with them, their performance, and operating state are generally shared with the manufacturers. 

While these smart devices were acquired by users to enhance their security and privacy, the manufacturers of these devices go ahead to collect so much information unintended by the users and without their knowledge. 

One of the ways these devices are used to ironically spy on users is through the recording and uploading of users’ data on company servers. For instance, unknown to most video doorbell users, the video is stored on companies’ servers and in some cases could be shared with law enforcement agencies. 

In a newspaper publication, the Washington Post reported that Amazon had reached an agreement with hundreds of police departments in the United States to “quickly request and download” video recorded by the ring doorbell cameras. The consequence of this is that users’ private moments and the entire event that happened in their homes could be turned over to law enforcement in the event of an investigation. The smart devices in our homes such as smart speakers and voice command devices could be made to record what we say, thereby compromising our privacy when they get hacked. As scary as the vast amount of the data our smart devices collect about us and share with third parties is, what is even scarier and the prospect of real-time spying is hackers taking control of our smart devices. 

If hackers gain access to our smart security systems such as a camera, videos, and locks, they could use these to record everything we say, what we do, and could even use the microphone to threaten, scare or blackmail us. Hackers could use smart cameras to spy on us for a long without us knowing and with access to other devices, they could lock us in or out of houses. Turn on/off bulbs with damaging effects. With their control of cameras and videos, they can read every password we type and record every call we make. Virtually every part of our private lives will be under their control. Smart home devices cannot only be turned on us by hackers alone; government agencies on covert operations can use our smart devices to put us under 24hours surveillance seeking incriminating evidence. In conclusion, smart devices could compromise our privacy by spying on us. Besides, the increase numbers of online activities have led to an increased number of frauds online. A privacy app like Hoody can help you protect your privacy. Hoody is an app that combines two techs designed from scratch for privacy: Phantom Browsing™ & Bulletproof Privacy Network (BPN) to ensure ultimate privacy. In today’s world where mass surveillance & tracking is very prominent, hoody is the only app that offers total privacy. Hoody’s Phantom Browsing™ anonymizes your data and creates a unique fingerprint for every tab on your browser. Hoody Phantom Browsing™ outperforms even the most sophisticated and intrusive tracking methods. Hoody’s Bulletproof Privacy Network (BPN) encrypts your local traffic and anonymizes your IP via multiple random relays.