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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Domestic Items are Getting Smarter but Creepier

Science & Technology

7Dnews London

Tue, 08 Jan 2019 10:27 GMT

A day may come when finding an oven that just cooks food may be as difficult as buying a TV that merely lets you change channels. Internet-connected "smarts" are creeping into cars, refrigerators, thermostats, toys and just about everything else in your home. CES 2019, the gadget show opening on Tuesday January 8th in Las Vegas, will showcase many of these products, including an oven that coordinates your recipes and a toilet that flushes with a voice command, AP reports.

With every additional smart device in your home, companies are able to gather more details about your daily life. Some of that can be used to help advertisers target you more precisely than they could with just the smartphone you carry. 

"It's decentralized surveillance," said Jeff Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington-based digital privacy advocate. "We're living in a world where we're tethered to some online service stealthily gathering our information."

"I'm a firm believer that simple is better. If you don't need to have these so-called enhancements, don't buy them," he said. "Does one really need a refrigerator that keeps track of everything in it and tells you are running out of milk?", warned Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse in San Diego.

Yet consumers so far seem to be welcoming these devices. The research firm IDC projects that 1.3 billion smart devices will ship worldwide in 2022, twice as many as in 2018. 

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