The perception about smart homes generally is about the benefits. The advantages of living in a smart home can cloud any perceived threats. However, we cannot overlook the compromise of privacy that can happen in smart homes.
Smart Home and Privacy
To get all the expected benefits from smart homes, you need to ensure all your devices are working non-stop. With this approach, you are sure your commands will be processed, and the tasks you need to get done are executed. It is an exciting experience, and you will quickly get used to the processes. People who live in smart homes use many of the smart features every day. This means a lot of data is generated.
The data from smart homes also include sensitive information you need to enjoy the convenience smart gadgets offer. For example, you will need to pre-set your favorite playlist on cue, recipes for smart cookware, and details of the products you consume frequently. This information is highly sought after by businesses that are constantly searching for ways to get you to buy more stuff.
However, gaining access to this information without your consent is a breach of privacy. There are written and undocumented regulations to guide smart homeowners, but the privacy risks still exist. We also know about brands that have made commitments and public declarations about how they use personal information. Can they be entirely trusted?
The internet is accessible by everyone, including hackers. As it stands, many people are willing to adopt smart homes, but first, they have to decide to risk their privacy for the convenience smart homes offer.
Trusting smart devices
We literarily give these smart devices control over our lives, even though we issue the commands and create settings that guide their operation. Smart devices offer so much value because they are programmed to monitor our activities and store information to give the users a customized experience. While this data is essential to having an amazing smart home experience, it must also be protected.
Smart devices such as smart speakers are also listening. They are programmed to receive commands and execute. However, they are also listening to your conversations and everything that goes on in your home. Quite scary right? Well, there is hardly a way around it, we are the users and have few options but to trust these smart devices.
To be clear about usage policies and disclaimers, users of these smart devices can carefully read the manufacturers policies regarding the usage and functionality of the products. If you find clauses and conditions written in these documents that are quite exploratory or uncertain, you may choose to avoid using those products.
Manufacturers of smart devices are aware of these worries, and they know users can avoid their products if it is suspected that privacy can be compromised. From this perspective, you can be assured that manufacturers will do everything to ensure their customers only have a great experience while using the products.
Regarding trust, it is also easier to buy products developed by smart home companies such as Google and Amazon. These brands have built a remarkable reputation over the years that the public trusts. Also, the scandal of a legal battle due to the privacy breach will be too damaging. Hence, the public can feel safer using their smart products.
Furthermore, many smart home companies have invested in encrypting data received and processed by their systems. While this news is comforting, it does not rule out the chances of a privacy breach. There have been some suggestions that users of smart devices will be more comfortable when they can manage their data independently. This is an angle worth exploring, but we all know how valuable this data is to the smart home companies.
The need for more education about privacy and smart homes
It is very easy to get carried away by the smart home experience. After discovering the power and control, these smart systems offer, occupants, start using the features without thinking much about privacy issues and what a breach can cause. For example, you wouldn’t think too long about entering payment information for your credit card and saving in with your smart speakers. After all, when this is done, you can order anything you want within seconds.
Will it be detrimental to smart companies if they alert users of potential threats to privacy? It may sound trivial, but a hack will cause too much trouble. Smart home companies can start targeted campaigns to inform users about privacy risks and how they can protect sensitive information.
To give an example, users of smart thermostats should be informed that their devices can track locations. This information promotes the automated functions of a smart thermostat. When you are within close proximity, it can start functioning to create the right climate in your home before your arrival. However, this also means your thermostat knows your location at all times. While users enjoy the convenience of this feature, it helps to know the risks.
We cannot also rule out glitches in the functions of smart devices. These errors can cause a total wipe of all stored information leading to data loss or grant unauthorized access to your private information.
What we can to secure privacy in smart homes?
First, it will help if you know all about the smart devices in your home. I am talking about features, how data is received, and the connected devices that have access to its data. Knowing more about your smart devices will help you keep your information private.
Next, your passwords, using only one password for all your devices makes it easy for hackers to gain easy access to your entire system. It is best if you used different passwords; you should also ensure the password strength is high. You can use secure programs online to create unique passwords that cannot be easily hacked.
Manufacturers of smart devices have also introduced the use of authentication codes sent as a text message to your private smartphone. This code is used as a second authentication process to prevent unauthorized access to your devices online.
In conclusion, many owners of smart homes will hardly let the threat of a privacy breach spoil their fun. Instead, they will deploy innovative measures to prevent that from happening. It is expected that manufacturers and smart home companies will continue to do everything possible to ensure customer’s privacy.