Topping the Electronic Frontier Foundation's don't-buy for Christmas list: Facebook's Portal in-home spycams, followed closely by Alexa/Google Home and other "home hubs"; Verizon's "AppFlash" spyware-equipped phones; and even the Elf on the Shelf gets a look in (normalizes surveillance!).
There are many, many more products that we could talk about here: smart toys, baby monitors, fitness trackers and more. Overall, there are a few things to think about when you’re looking at buying a smart gift but trying to balance privacy.
Consider carefully what features a product has, and what that means in terms of data collection. Anything with a microphone, for example, can record what you’re saying—and may record something you don’t expect it do, as was the case for one Amazon Echo owner this May. Opting for a smart vacuum also means letting a company like iRobot, maker of the Roomba, map out your house.
Second, use your settings. A new smart device will probably have a lot of sharing options on by default, and set-up is a good time to go through the settings and figure out what you actually want to be exposing to companies and others.
Socks and books aren’t looking so bad now, are they?
The EFF Gift Guide: What’s Creeping Us Out
[Hayley Tsukayama/EFF Deeplinks]
It turns out Zoom is super useful in these trying times. You can use it to fire 406 people at once! From Dot.la: Then, after five minutes of dead air that seemed like an eternity, a robotic-sounding, disembodied voice came on the line. The woman began by acknowledging “this is a suboptimal way to deliver […]
The decade-old warning to stay off public WIFI systems is no longer valid. EFF: There are still a few small information leaks: HTTPS protects the content of your communications, but not the metadata. So when you visit HTTPS sites, anyone along the communication path—from your ISP to the Internet backbone provider to the site’s hosting […]
[My EFF colleague Bill Budington has a fantastic report on all the ways that Ring surveils its own customers. Caveat emptor, indeed. -Cory] Ring isn't just a product that allows users to surveil their neighbors. The company also uses it to surveil its customers.
If you’ve never heard of WooCommerce, it’s essential the way small businesses operate in WordPress, the world’s most popular web content management system. With WooCommerce, web entrepreneurs can set up and run an e-commerce store, selling products, accepting payments and safeguarding privacy for both buyers and sellers. As the engine behind 35 percent of all […]
Can’t sit still during the pandemic? You’re not alone. Many folks are using their social distancing time to decompress and zone out on Tiger King, some even pushing back against the idea of being productive. But plenty of others find themselves bored, restless, and in need of projects and goals, somewhere to direct their energy. […]
Even if you don’t miss much else about the office right now, there’s a good chance your home laptop is making you nostalgic for the added efficiency of that pair of monitors on your desk at work to spread out your workflow. There’s no telling how long the new normal may continue to be the […]