Will Smart Home Tech Make Us Care More About Privacy?

The rise in smart home tech has greatly influenced massive evolution in engineering, automation, and augmented reality. It has helped bring about a rise in convenience in ways that no one would think of. Smart home techs are ultimately the next big thing in the tech world, thanks to smart devices like smart refrigerators that notify you when it’s time to buy a certain grocery or baby monitors that keep you updated on the baby’s movements at all times and reminders that help water your beautiful flowers. 

Japan is gradually embracing smart home technology, with the market expected to go well above US$ 13 Billion come 2027. The growth in tech is attributed to numerous factors, including the continuing increased importance of remote home monitoring, lower costs associated with home automation systems and the unprecedented growth of the IoT markets. However, there are valid concerns surrounding home tech, specifically a breach of security and privacy. Our expert author Narimi Murayama (read more) takes us through a comprehensive piece to help us understand if smart home tech will make us care more about privacy.

Smart Home Devices and Privacy

A recent study in 2019 claimed that an average of 40.8% of all smart homes globally faced smart home privacy concerns from at least one connected smart device. As smart home technology keeps advancing, all users must understand how much data the devices collect, who has access to it, and the final use of this information. Smart devices also can record all behavioral patterns, personal preferences, and usage frequency. This may pose a privacy and security breach as the devices may respond to false commands by similar face or voice protocols. However, tech companies are fully aware of this and have developed user protection protocols, including two-bit authentication using a 4-digit code.

Vulnerable Smart Home Tech Devices

Some of the most vulnerable smart devices are outdoor devices, as they have remote activation as their only security protocol. Provided one has a computer or transmitter; they can easily hack into any wireless doorbells, smart sprinklers, or garage shutters.

It is also easy to compromise smart home privacy on devices such as solar heaters and nanny cams operating inside the house as they are monitored from a highly vulnerable smartphone.

Data Collected by Smart Home Devices

Our Japanese expert Narimi Murayama believes that: 日本では、iゲーミングやネット ギャンブルにアクセスしスマートデバイスでモニタリングするなら、同じスマホを使うことができます。 Smart house devices collect a lot of data in both aural and visual forms. The risk of infiltration gets even higher when the tech is operated from a smartphone, which may compromise your IoT, bank accounts, and personal social media platforms.

Take a literal case where you lose your phone, and someone manages to hack it. This means that they could get right into your house virtually and alter all your devices settings. It is also easy for an intruder to doctor footage recorded by smart devices like Ring by Amazon to gain illegal entry into your premises through the wireless door opening.

How Do Smart Home Tech Companies Use Collected Data?

According to different data acts in various jurisdictions, the tech companies will normally send out a privacy notice anytime there is a suspicious login. If you fail to authenticate your info, all services are blocked, which greatly heightens the risk of remote monitoring.

The companies also use the collected data from the smart devices to offer post-sale perks by extending warranties and personalizing services. Smart home tech devices also help manufacturers conduct promotions through targeted advertising on frequented places like social media spaces.

Smart home tech companies like Google, Nest, Amazon, and Echobee have previously not disclosed their transparency reports, which raises whether the collected info is given to other third parties like the government.

What to Do If You Suspect A Privacy Breach On Your Smart Home Tech Device

  • Disable any dormant smart home devices.
  • Consider having strong passwords and using two-factor authentication protocols
  • Consider changing administrator privileges with personal profiles on your computer’s root level.
  • Regularly changing alert words on smart home tech devices like Ring, Echo Dots, and Nest to keep away intruders from memorizing them.
  • Consider turning off the smart home devices when not in use.
  • Regularly run updates on your device user manual or automatic prompts to ensure your smart home tech gadgets are running on the current software.
Andrew Nguyen

Andrew Nguyen is a tech journalist with a background in Computer Science from Stanford University who has been demystifying technology for over a decade. He started his career at a magazine, where he polished his skills in explaining complex technologies in simple terms. He worked with leading tech companies in Silicon Valley, contributing to groundbreaking projects. His insights are enriched by his passion for the latest gadgets and advancements in AI. His hobbies include robotics and participating in tech forums. He is also an avid programmer and drone enthusiast.

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