If you’re concerned about security and data privacy in your smart home, rest assured that you’re not alone. According to Chris White, research director at Parks Associates, 55 percent of consumers are “very concerned” about personal data security. This concern is valid considering how often data breaches occur, including recent incidents such as the Amazon Ring settlement with the FTC for privacy and security violations.
The FTC complaint against Amazon Ring made it clear that the company has since stopped the practices in question. Other companies should take note and ensure that their internal access controls prevent unauthorized access to video data. Amazon also faced penalties for Alexa violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule), which raised concerns about children’s voices being captured and used for training models.
Taking steps to protect your personal data is always wise, but it’s important to determine which devices and circumstances pose a potential threat. Smart speakers, for example, do listen, but only when triggered by a wake word. Choosing an unusual wake word and regularly deleting stored data can enhance your privacy. It’s also worth noting that not all companies use smart assistants for advertising purposes, with Apple explicitly stating they don’t use Siri for marketing profiles.
Keeping your smart home device data private often requires granting access to some personal information. Understanding what data is collected, how it’s collected, and how it’s protected is essential. Reading privacy policies, even if you’ve already agreed to them, can help you gain a clear understanding of a company’s practices. Checking complaints and data privacy policies with your local government’s consumer protection agency can also provide valuable insights.
While no lock is entirely hack-proof, both traditional locks and smart locks have vulnerabilities. However, smart locks without keyways are often safer than traditional locks, as they can’t be picked. Making breaking into your home difficult is key, and reliable smart lock vendors regularly update their products to prevent attacks.
Utility smart meters and other energy devices may collect usage data that can reveal information about your family, such as when you’re home. Understanding the data collected by these devices and how it’s used is important for maintaining privacy and security.
Overall, being aware of potential risks and taking necessary precautions can help you protect your data in your smart home.