LAS VEGAS (AP) – Many of the hottest new gadgets are also the nosiest.
This week's CES tech show in Las Vegas was a showcase for cameras that liven up the living room, bathroom mirrors offering beauty tips and gizmos that track heartbeats of unborn babies. Everyone wants to gather some kind of data about their users, whether they are pictures or monitors; how well they will protect it and what they plan to do with it are the important and often unanswered questions.
These features can be useful – or at least fun – but they open every door to businesses and their workers to look into your private life. Just this week, The Intercept at Ring, a security camera company owned by Amazon, reported that a number of employees and executives had access to record and sometimes video recordings from their customers' homes.
Our computer-controlled age now forces you to weigh the usefulness of a beautiful mirror against the risk that strangers may see you in your bathroom. Although a company has your privacy in mind, things can go wrong: Hackers can break in and access sensitive data, or your ex can hold onto a video feed long after you break up.
"It's not like all of these technologies are in themselves bad," says Franziska Roesner, a computer lecturer for the campus in Washington.
But she said the industry is still trying to find the right balance between providing useful services and protecting people's privacy in the process. 1
As other safety devices, ring cameras can be mounted outside the front door or inside the home; A phone app lets you see who is there. But the Intercept said that the Amazon-owned company also allowed some senior engineers in the United States to watch their customers' video feeds, while others in Ukraine's office could see and download any customer video.
In a statement, Ring said some Amazon employees have access to videos publicly shared through the company's neighbors app, which aims to create a network of security cameras in an area. Ring also says that employees receive additional video from users who consent to such sharing.
At CES, Ring announced an internet-connected video doorbell that fits into peepholes in apartment or dorm room doors. Although it doesn't seem to ring using face recognition yet, records show that Amazon recently filed a patent application for a face recognition system involving home security cameras.
LIVING ROOM LIVESTREAM
It is one thing to put cameras in our own homes, but Alarm.com also wants us to put them in the homes of others.
Alarms Wellcam is for watch companies to look from afar and is mostly designed to check in on older family members. Someone living elsewhere can use a smartphone to "look in" at any time, says Steve Chazin, vice president of products.
The idea of placing a camera in another's living room may feel disturbing.
Wellcam says video streaming isn It does not start until someone activates it from a phone and then stops it as soon as the person turns off. Chazin says such cameras become "more acceptable because the loved ones will know that those they care about are safe."
Just make sure you trust who you are accessing. You cannot turn off the camera unless you pull it out.
French company CareOS exhibited a smart mirror that lets you "try" different hairstyles. Face Recognition helps the mirror camera know which person in a household is, while magnified reality technology overlays your actual image with animation on how you can see.
CareOS expects hotels and salons to buy Artemis $ 20,000 mirror – making it more important that personal data is protected.
"We know we don't want the whole world to know what's going on in the bathroom," co-founder Chloe Szulzinger said.
The mirror does not need an internet connection for work, she said. The company says it will comply with Europe's stronger privacy rules, which came into force in May, no matter where a customer lives. Customers can choose to share their information with CareOS, but only after they have explicitly agreed on how it is used.
The same goes for the companies that buy and install the mirror. Customers can choose to share some information – e.g. Photos of the haircut they received the last time they visited a salon – but companies cannot access anything stored in user profiles unless users specifically allow them.
] Meanwhile, some gadgets gather intimate information.
Yo Sperm sells an iPhone attachment that tests and tracks sperm quality. To protect privacy, the company recommends that users turn their phones into flight mode when using the test. The company says data stays in the phone, within the app, although there is a button for sharing details with a doctor.
Although such data may be useful, Forrester analyst warns Fatemeh Khatibloo that these entities are not regulated or regulated by US private law. She warns that companies could potentially sell data to insurance companies, for example. Could find out that someone had been drinking caffeine during a pregnancy – potentially increasing health risks and policy premiums.
Lerman reported from Seattle.