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(Guardian)   How to stop smart devices from spying on you in your home. Step 1: Don't buy smart devices. Thanks for coming to my TED talk   (theguardian.com) divider line
    More: Obvious, Privacy, Domestic robot, Roomba, Home automation, Power line communication, Risk, Closed-circuit television, Security  
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1752 clicks; posted to Main » on 16 Aug 2022 at 9:05 AM (15 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2022-08-16 7:36:41 AM  
pbs.twimg.comView Full Size
 
2022-08-16 8:45:09 AM  
I'm a total tech geek, and have been since the early 80s, but even I don't really care much for smart devices.  I have a smartphone, and I have an Android box, and of course my computer, and that's about it.  I don't care about a smart TV (I'm still using a 12+ year old Samsung 1080P dumb TV and an equally old Logitech Harmony One for a universal remote), and I really have no use for digital assistants beyond what's already in my phone.  As much as ST:TNG made it seem fun to talk to your computer, the reality is, I have absolutely no desire to do so.  I do think home automation could be useful, but only up to a point.  I try and avoid devices that I use my smartphone to control because if history has taught me anything, as soon as it is deemed obsolete or the company that makes the stuff goes belly up, the app disappears from the App Store and if you lose it, you never get it back.  (I still have a pair of Roam Ropes app-controlled wireless earbuds that are utterly useless now because of that.  You need the app to access the DSP controls like the EQ, and without it, they sound like shiat.  Which is a pity because they sounded excellent when set to your liking.)

I'll stick to mostly dumb devices.
 
2022-08-16 9:06:25 AM  
That's why I stick with binoculars.
 
2022-08-16 9:08:51 AM  

Psychopusher: I'm a total tech geek, and have been since the early 80s, but even I don't really care much for smart devices.  I have a smartphone, and I have an Android box, and of course my computer, and that's about it.  I don't care about a smart TV (I'm still using a 12+ year old Samsung 1080P dumb TV and an equally old Logitech Harmony One for a universal remote), and I really have no use for digital assistants beyond what's already in my phone.  As much as ST:TNG made it seem fun to talk to your computer, the reality is, I have absolutely no desire to do so.  I do think home automation could be useful, but only up to a point.  I try and avoid devices that I use my smartphone to control because if history has taught me anything, as soon as it is deemed obsolete or the company that makes the stuff goes belly up, the app disappears from the App Store and if you lose it, you never get it back.  (I still have a pair of Roam Ropes app-controlled wireless earbuds that are utterly useless now because of that.  You need the app to access the DSP controls like the EQ, and without it, they sound like shiat.  Which is a pity because they sounded excellent when set to your liking.)

I'll stick to mostly dumb devices.



I have almost no idea what you said. So I think I'm good.
 
2022-08-16 9:10:14 AM  
This thread is already reminding me of a Zoe Kravitz movie.
 
2022-08-16 9:11:55 AM  
I sleep better at night with my ring doorbell. Finally found out what was turning on the security lights at night and it was another black cat. I might adopt if he comes by again.
 
2022-08-16 9:12:58 AM  
Darn. I read that article on a smart device.
 
2022-08-16 9:13:18 AM  
I deliberately things like my Samsung TV a false gateway address (1.1.1.1).
=
 
2022-08-16 9:14:10 AM  
To be honest smart stuff helps the elderly and I use it to help my dad out he can turn on the lights, tv turn down the heat or turn on the AC at a distance or if he forgets i can do it from my phone or PC.
 
2022-08-16 9:15:39 AM  
I'm boring and not up to no good, but I hate all the advertising aggregation tracking so I have none of that smart stuff and most things disabled on my phone. Ads removed. Plus I'm in another country or state thanks to proxy software.
 
2022-08-16 9:16:40 AM  
I like the idea of a smart house that can tell me what I have at a given time. Not just foodstuffs; I'd like my house to remind me that I have five identical black tank tops and probably don't need more, or that I already bought a copy of that book because I get confused easily.

Then I think of all the possibilities for it to go wrong and I don't like the idea at all.

I don't have Siri, Alexa, or any of others. I talk to animate objects like my cats and plants.
 
2022-08-16 9:17:35 AM  

I Ate Shergar: [pbs.twimg.com image 850x850]


Biggest thing is don't connect them to wi-fi if you're concerned. We have cameras and our thermostat as "smart"

It's handy to get the notifications and to be able to track stuff while gone, though.
 
2022-08-16 9:22:58 AM  
Also-- don't ride in a car.
 
2022-08-16 9:23:16 AM  
Every once in a while I hold a public execution of one of my appliances and make the others watch. That keeps them in line. You're next, toaster!
 
2022-08-16 9:23:53 AM  

Manic Depressive Mouse: I like the idea of a smart house that can tell me what I have at a given time. Not just foodstuffs; I'd like my house to remind me that I have five identical black tank tops and probably don't need more, or that I already bought a copy of that book because I get confused easily.

Then I think of all the possibilities for it to go wrong and I don't like the idea at all.

I don't have Siri, Alexa, or any of others. I talk to animate objects like my cats and plants.


Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-08-16 9:24:23 AM  

I Ate Shergar: [pbs.twimg.com image 850x850]


You missed a panel:

external-preview.redd.itView Full Size

People in this thread:  The government cares about my pancake recipe.
 
2022-08-16 9:26:32 AM  

Cafe Threads: Manic Depressive Mouse: I like the idea of a smart house that can tell me what I have at a given time. Not just foodstuffs; I'd like my house to remind me that I have five identical black tank tops and probably don't need more, or that I already bought a copy of that book because I get confused easily.

Then I think of all the possibilities for it to go wrong and I don't like the idea at all.

I don't have Siri, Alexa, or any of others. I talk to animate objects like my cats and plants.

[Fark user image 425x520]


I mean I don't know this is a joke but I assume to make sure children don't get stuck in. The same reason you have to take the doors off fridges and freezers to dump them.
 
2022-08-16 9:31:14 AM  

alice_600: To be honest smart stuff helps the elderly and I use it to help my dad out he can turn on the lights, tv turn down the heat or turn on the AC at a distance or if he forgets i can do it from my phone or PC.


Have you tried the new version?

Amazon Echo - SNL
Youtube YvT_gqs5ETk
 
2022-08-16 9:34:14 AM  

Cafe Threads: Manic Depressive Mouse: I like the idea of a smart house that can tell me what I have at a given time. Not just foodstuffs; I'd like my house to remind me that I have five identical black tank tops and probably don't need more, or that I already bought a copy of that book because I get confused easily.

Then I think of all the possibilities for it to go wrong and I don't like the idea at all.

I don't have Siri, Alexa, or any of others. I talk to animate objects like my cats and plants.

[Fark user image image 425x520]


See, that's a feature I really don't need. If the fridge door doesn't shut right, the cat will be in the fridge in no time.
 
2022-08-16 9:34:58 AM  

I Ate Shergar: [pbs.twimg.com image 850x850]


I like to keep them on their toes.

"Do you have a recipe for Iran-Contra cakes?"
"What's the the best way to get a congressman's attention?"
"So, about those Hoffa tapes..."
 
2022-08-16 9:35:13 AM  
Keep your IoT shiat off the interwebs or on its own subnet if you can't.

/Vizio was caught mining and selling data, IIRC
//adversaries wants your smart TV and IoT data
//cleared fed, military, contractors especially
////fours?
 
2022-08-16 9:35:17 AM  
Smart devices are yet another example of a solution in search of a problem.
 
2022-08-16 9:36:03 AM  
If you attend my TED Talk, you'd know about my foolproof solution: Providing fake data to smart devices. For example, at my website, I sell ambient audio recordings of families of different sizes to fool your devices into thinking that your family is smaller or larger than it really is.
 
2022-08-16 9:36:37 AM  
I got a Google smart speaker about a year ago when I saw it on sale for $15. But the stupid thing won't read my audiobooks so it sits unplugged in my cord box.
 
2022-08-16 9:37:13 AM  

Cafe Threads: Manic Depressive Mouse: I like the idea of a smart house that can tell me what I have at a given time. Not just foodstuffs; I'd like my house to remind me that I have five identical black tank tops and probably don't need more, or that I already bought a copy of that book because I get confused easily.

Then I think of all the possibilities for it to go wrong and I don't like the idea at all.

I don't have Siri, Alexa, or any of others. I talk to animate objects like my cats and plants.

[Fark user image 425x520]


That.

And the biggest issue I have is my information being sold to others so I can be advertised to.  But that will happen no matter what unless you take the utmost precautions.

I use the Kasa Smart (TP-Link) devices - no hub required and easily shared and tied to the Alexa/Echo and their MAC addresses are *easily* retrievable (most devices have it on the device itself or you bluetooth connect and it shows up clearly).  They are a big enough company that they will either hang around for a while or be bought by someone else and they don't seem to be "obsoleting" their devices - the oldest still work fine.
 
2022-08-16 9:39:28 AM  
Your reminder that Roombas make a map of your home and upload that data, and that Amazon now owns Roomba.

Yay capitalism. So much freedom.
 
2022-08-16 9:43:04 AM  
Since we keep a regular schedule we have been using "smart" devices for years.  They are called timers.  Sure, we have to change the clock on them twice a year.  We also have to change the time on for the lamps a few times a year, but it is very convenient, and easy to use.  Set the time, set the time on, plug in the lamp.
 
2022-08-16 9:51:08 AM  
Yeah, I don't understand why people need to have app-controlled coffeemakers. Lights and things can be set by a simple timer.
 
2022-08-16 9:51:54 AM  

LowbrowDeluxe: I Ate Shergar: [pbs.twimg.com image 850x850]

You missed a panel:

[external-preview.redd.it image 850x637]
People in this thread:  The government cares about my pancake recipe.


The government's interest troubles me less than industry. I resent having become a product when I purchase a product.
 
2022-08-16 9:53:26 AM  

mybluemake: LowbrowDeluxe: I Ate Shergar: [pbs.twimg.com image 850x850]

You missed a panel:

[external-preview.redd.it image 850x637]
People in this thread:  The government cares about my pancake recipe.

The government's interest troubles me less than industry. I resent having become a product when I purchase a product.


No, but they got an epic, 2014 dunk out of it. I mean, Pancakes?? How wacky.
 
2022-08-16 9:58:18 AM  
I have a gov't job that uses almost exclusively non-public FOIA exempt information.

Largely telework still, We've been directed by our IT Security team not to operate a smart device within range of any virtual conversations or meetings.

I don't know of any coworker who even has a device (including me), so NBD from my vantage point.
 
2022-08-16 10:04:17 AM  
Our house had a "smart" thermostat when we moved in. It may have been connected, but a total failure as a thermostat.  Took an HVAC tech three hours to figure out our heat pump was fine, but the thermostat couldn't do anything except run the emergency backup heaters. We now have an unconnected, programmable thermostat that runs the heat pump properly.

The prior owners left a box of blueprints and an identical "smart" thermostat that had also failed. The heat pump was installed in 2016, so two failures in four years. I guess that's smart if you are selling "smart" thermostats.

38 years in IT and I saw many companies come and go, so I use as old and low a tech as it takes to get the actual job done, like mechanical locks on my doors, wired security cameras, etc.
 
2022-08-16 10:07:44 AM  
Yall sitting here talking all that shiat, but when a smart fleshlight hits the market, you'll be be first in line.
 
2022-08-16 10:08:13 AM  
Have no desire to have any smart device in our house.  When we had a new HVAC system installed in our previous house, we specified a non-smart thermostat.  They installed the smart version anyway, and I wouldn't sign off on the installation until they removed it and installed a non-smart version.  Installer wasn't happy because he had to drive ~40 miles round trip to go back into town and get a different one.  Life's rough all over.
 
2022-08-16 10:12:47 AM  

drjekel_mrhyde: Yall sitting here talking all that shiat, but when a smart fleshlight hits the market, you'll be be first in line.


We're getting there...
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-08-16 10:17:22 AM  

Chief Superintendent Lookout: Smart devices are yet another example of a solution in search of a problem.


As an appliance repair tech: hard agree. Internet connected appliances have no performance advantage, but do have yet another expensive failure point. To say nothing monitoring of your home and habits in order to create increasingly sophisticated marketing.
 
2022-08-16 10:19:40 AM  

drjekel_mrhyde: Yall sitting here talking all that shiat, but when a smart fleshlight hits the market, you'll be be first in line.


Doubtful. Anything smart would reject them.
 
2022-08-16 10:20:45 AM  

Nogale: Yeah, I don't understand why people need to have app-controlled coffeemakers.


https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/09/how-a-hacker-turned-a-250-coffee-maker-into-ransom-machine/

What a hacked coffee machine looks like.
Youtube bJrIh94RSiI
 
2022-08-16 10:31:01 AM  

DanInKansas: Chief Superintendent Lookout: Smart devices are yet another example of a solution in search of a problem.

As an appliance repair tech: hard agree. Internet connected appliances have no performance advantage, but do have yet another expensive failure point. To say nothing monitoring of your home and habits in order to create increasingly sophisticated marketing.


As an engineer I also agree. I bought a window AC unit for my garage and was surprised at how many of those are now "smart." I've even seen smart ceiling fans. My smart security system is a couple of large dogs. They know my floor plan very well and they might watch what I do when I'm home alone but they don't tell anyone about it.
 
2022-08-16 10:31:36 AM  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-08-16 10:40:40 AM  

Manic Depressive Mouse: I like the idea of a smart house that can tell me what I have at a given time. Not just foodstuffs; I'd like my house to remind me that I have five identical black tank tops and probably don't need more, or that I already bought a copy of that book because I get confused easily.
Then I think of all the possibilities for it to go wrong and I don't like the idea at all.
I don't have Siri, Alexa, or any of others. I talk to animate objects like my cats and plants.


Advertising doesn't tell you to NOT buy things.  If you already have too many clothes, maybe you need to get off the farking phone once in a while.  Maybe you need to get off the phone, period.  "You like the idea"  so what?  Lots of people like lots of things that make them into lazy assholes.  Lots of people would like to spend their days in an opium den while a young girl sucks their dicks.  We try not to lower the bar any more than it already has been.
Until you go shopping again.

Fark user imageView Full Size


Can you guys get a farking clue once in a while?

Sleeper_agent: Also-- don't ride in a car.


There's nothing smart in my car, and i will continue to drive old cars until I am dead.  Also my car doesn't make me sign in to drive it.
 
2022-08-16 10:48:49 AM  
Privacy advocates such as Vaile are concerned the robot vacuum cleaner will give Amazon access to floor plans of users' homes, using mapping features some iRobot products already offer.

Uh, so farking what?  You could probably find the layout of almost any house that sold in the last 5 years just by looking at pictures on Trulia or Zillow or the builder's website.


It's also a matter of determining what data you're willing to trade in return for greater convenience. For instance, Lackmann has Phillips Hue smart lights - but has disabled the feature that allows him to control them remotely. That function requires an internet connection, and switching the lights off when he's out feels like a small reward for letting a company into his home.

Exactly what data is a smart lightbulb collecting?  It doesn't have a microphone or a camera.  Are people really concerned about a company knowing when you turn your lights off and on?  Really?
 
2022-08-16 10:51:19 AM  

cryinoutloud: Manic Depressive Mouse: I like the idea of a smart house that can tell me what I have at a given time. Not just foodstuffs; I'd like my house to remind me that I have five identical black tank tops and probably don't need more, or that I already bought a copy of that book because I get confused easily.
Then I think of all the possibilities for it to go wrong and I don't like the idea at all.
I don't have Siri, Alexa, or any of others. I talk to animate objects like my cats and plants.

Advertising doesn't tell you to NOT buy things.  If you already have too many clothes, maybe you need to get off the farking phone once in a while.  Maybe you need to get off the phone, period.  "You like the idea"  so what?  Lots of people like lots of things that make them into lazy assholes.  Lots of people would like to spend their days in an opium den while a young girl sucks their dicks.  We try not to lower the bar any more than it already has been.
Until you go shopping again.

[Fark user image image 436x313]

Can you guys get a farking clue once in a while?

Sleeper_agent: Also-- don't ride in a car.

There's nothing smart in my car, and i will continue to drive old cars until I am dead.  Also my car doesn't make me sign in to drive it.


Cool rant.
 
TWX
2022-08-16 10:52:22 AM  

Psychopusher: I'm a total tech geek, and have been since the early 80s, but even I don't really care much for smart devices.  I have a smartphone, and I have an Android box, and of course my computer, and that's about it.  I don't care about a smart TV (I'm still using a 12+ year old Samsung 1080P dumb TV and an equally old Logitech Harmony One for a universal remote), and I really have no use for digital assistants beyond what's already in my phone.  As much as ST:TNG made it seem fun to talk to your computer, the reality is, I have absolutely no desire to do so.  I do think home automation could be useful, but only up to a point.  I try and avoid devices that I use my smartphone to control because if history has taught me anything, as soon as it is deemed obsolete or the company that makes the stuff goes belly up, the app disappears from the App Store and if you lose it, you never get it back.  (I still have a pair of Roam Ropes app-controlled wireless earbuds that are utterly useless now because of that.  You need the app to access the DSP controls like the EQ, and without it, they sound like shiat.  Which is a pity because they sounded excellent when set to your liking.)

I'll stick to mostly dumb devices.


Fundamentally it comes down to the software control point for the device and the software obsolescence versus the actual end of useful life for the device.

One should be skeptical of devices that advertise as being for consumers or especially consumer-friendly.  That usually means that they're tied-in with some kind of proprietary Internet-based service, or they're dependent on some local program that once one loses the ability to run, the device is less useful.

I've been doing this for long enough that I had to migrate from the Palm platform to Android.  There wasn't much in the way of functionality loss for me but if I'd had something dependent on Palm, like how a friend of ours was building his PhD thesis on autonomous, noncommunicating machine swarms and used Palm as his platform for his work, I'd have been in deep trouble.

I tend to prefer industrial or commercial equipment instead of 'internet of things' equipment.  Most industrial/commercial stuff uses industry-standard protocols, the device is not so tightly wedded to its control program that it's impossible to change to a different control program.  But admittedly that's usually harder to do, and even with that having historically been the norms, vendors are attempting to change to a walled-garden approach there too, requiring licensing based on fee schedules for new stuff rather than one-time purchase models.

The future on this looks pretty bleak unfortunately.  This means a lot of waste is going to be generated in the form of equipment with useful service life remaining that can't be used because manufacturers won't let it be used.
 
TWX
2022-08-16 10:55:53 AM  

Dinjiin: [Fark user image 480x260]


I resemble this.  I'm still rockin' the HP LaserJet 2100.  My printer debuted in February 1999.  It could probably stand a memory upgrade as it tends to choke on the largest print jobs but it still produces quality output and I keep finding toner cartridges for it at thrift stores, new in box.

It'll probably have to be retired either when I can't keep the paper-pickup and -handling rollers working reliably anymore, or when I have to reconfigure it and the JetDirect card, which uses Java for the web interface, no longer can be worked with.
 
2022-08-16 11:11:10 AM  

cryinoutloud: Lots of people would like to spend their days in an opium den while a young girl sucks their dicks.


Well... I mean... yeah...
 
2022-08-16 11:14:09 AM  

TWX: Fundamentally it comes down to the software control point for the device and the software obsolescence versus the actual end of useful life for the device.


Pretty much this.  My earbuds example above is one such example -- they still work, they just can't be set properly without the software.  But Apple is one of the poster children for this, with the controversy over Apple's OS slowing the system down when the battery health drops below a certain level "to preserve remaining battery life" -- a thing that wouldn't even be necessary if the batteries were user-swappable the way they used to be.  (Admittedly Apple didn't start this trend.  Palm's batteries for their devices pretty much since the Palm V weren't swappable, a trend that probably most PDAs followed back then.  I did have a PocketPC device -- a Dell Axim X50v -- that had removable batteries though, which was nice.)

TWX: I've been doing this for long enough that I had to migrate from the Palm platform to Android. There wasn't much in the way of functionality loss for me but if I'd had something dependent on Palm, like how a friend of ours was building his PhD thesis on autonomous, noncommunicating machine swarms and used Palm as his platform for his work, I'd have been in deep trouble.


I think there's a difference between relying on a whole platform versus relying on a piece of hardware that is tied to a piece of software on that platform, because it's one thing if the platform dies, but it's another if the company that makes the hardware, and the software that controls it, on that platform dies, and the platform is a walled-garden type where you can't easily reinstall the software once it disappears from the proprietary store.  You'd still be left with a perfectly good platform, and a perfectly good piece of hardware, but it's gimped or worse because you can't get the software that controls it any more.  That's when I avoid hardware of that nature.  I will not buy a piece of hardware that won't work, or won't work properly, if it absolutely relies on software to function properly.  I refuse to be stuck with a brick if the software disappears.  I've been there with headphones, and I have a Sony "smart" camera for smartphones (rather nice at the time, stereo sound, 10x optical zoom, optical image stabilization, 1080p video) whose software disappeared years ago, and now it's completely useless.

TWX: I tend to prefer industrial or commercial equipment instead of 'internet of things' equipment. Most industrial/commercial stuff uses industry-standard protocols, the device is not so tightly wedded to its control program that it's impossible to change to a different control program. But admittedly that's usually harder to do, and even with that having historically been the norms, vendors are attempting to change to a walled-garden approach there too, requiring licensing based on fee schedules for new stuff rather than one-time purchase models.


That's where a lot of stuff seems to be headed, because it's more profitable and provides a continuing revenue stream for the manufacturers.  It's all about the profit.
 
2022-08-16 11:15:06 AM  

Cajnik: alice_600: To be honest smart stuff helps the elderly and I use it to help my dad out he can turn on the lights, tv turn down the heat or turn on the AC at a distance or if he forgets i can do it from my phone or PC.

Have you tried the new version?

[Youtube-video https://www.youtube.com/embed/YvT_gqs5ETk]


Funny story there a conversation mode for Alexa and one day I came over and found my dad triggering it. Dad was arguing about cars or something to her.
 
2022-08-16 11:25:04 AM  

thornhill: If you attend my TED Talk, you'd know about my foolproof solution: Providing fake data to smart devices. For example, at my website, I sell ambient audio recordings of families of different sizes to fool your devices into thinking that your family is smaller or larger than it really is.


I do it to my own all the time currently Alexa thinks I'm married to MCU's Loki and we're having Thor, Doctor Strange and Wong for Thanksgiving dinner.
 
2022-08-16 11:34:14 AM  
Nothing more convenient in this day & age than having to update the software on your oven.

/no smart devices in this house
 
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