“The House That Spied on Me”
Kashmir Hill and Surya Mattu, Gizmodo, February 9, 2018
Getting a smart home means that everyone who lives or comes inside it is part of your personal panopticon, something which may not be obvious to them because they don't expect everyday objects to have spying abilities. One of the gadgets — the Eight Sleep Tracker — seemed aware of this, and as a privacy-protective gesture, required the email address of the person I sleep with to request his permission to show me sleep reports from his side of the bed. But it's weird to tell a gadget who you are having sex with as a way to protect privacy, especially when that gadget is monitoring the noise levels in your bedroom. …
I was looking forward to the end of the experiment and getting rid of all the Internet-connected devices I'd accumulated, as well as freeing up the many electrical outlets they'd been hogging. …
But the truth is that my house will remain smart, just like yours may be. Almost every TV on the market now is connected — because otherwise how do you Netflix and chill? — and over 25 million smart speakers were sold last year alone, with Apple soon to release its version, the HomePod, meaning a good percentage of American homes have or will have an internet-connected assistant waiting patiently for someone in the house to say their wake word. …
We may already be past the point of no return: internet functionality is a necessary component for the operation of many devices in our home, and it increasingly gets added on as a feature even when it's not strictly necessary. … Once the data is going over the wires, companies can't seem to resist peeking at it, no matter how sensitive it is.