In the News

The increase in law enforcement information requests could reinforce privacy-minded consumers' aversion to smart home devices. A survey of US consumers conducted by ADT in December 2019 found that just over half (52–53%) of those surveyed were concerned about the government spying on them through in-home smart cameras or speakers.e
Is government spying on you? Yes, yes, it does

Privacy has been a hot topic for almost a decade now, as the shenanigans of The National Security Agency (NSA) were exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, and websites like Wikileaks disclosed millions of highly sensitive governmental documents online
...reports have emerged from Russia of another shocking security breach within the FSB ecosystem. This one has exposed “a new weapon ordered by the security service,” one that can execute cyber attacks on the Internet of Things (IoT)—the millions of connected devices now in our homes and offices.

The goal of the so-called “Fronton Program” is to exploit IoT security vulnerabilities en masse—remember, these technologies are fundamentally less secure than other connected devices in homes and offices.
If 2019 confirmed anything, it is that we should not trust the microphones and cameras that large corporations sell us to put inside and near our homes. Thanks to the due diligence of reporters, public records requesters, and privacy researchers and activists, consumers have been learning more and more about how these “smart” home technologies can be hacked, exploited, or utilized by the police and other law enforcement agencies.
Is your phone/laptop/home security camera spying on you for the Chinese government?
  • Well, probably.
  • Should you care?
Yes … but also, how much of a choice do we all have?
It may crackdown on crime — and privacy, too. That's if German police get powers to seize personal data on smart devices. Germany's discussing plans that are already a reality in the USA.

Every cough, fart, and "Darling, I love you" gets sucked up and sent in seconds to servers for analysis to check whether you've expressed an instruction to your device, or whether you're just living your life.

And most of that data — private data — gets logged.
Device makers won't say if your smart home gadgets spied on you.

A decade ago, it was almost inconceivable that nearly every household item could be hooked up to the internet. These days, it’s near impossible to avoid a non-smart home gadget, and they’re vacuuming up a ton of new data that we’d never normally think about.
Is your phone/laptop/home security camera spying on you for the Chinese government?
  • Well, probably.
  • Should you care?
Yes … but also, how much of a choice do we all have?
Cleaning robots, smart speakers, driverless cars, and WiFi-connected kettles and refrigerators are convenient tools that make our everyday lives much easier. But China’s presence in this burgeoning industry—known as IoT (internet of things)—could pose serious security risks to U.S. companies and consumers, according to a new report commissioned by the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressional group that reviews issues concerning the U.S.–China relationship.
Ever get that feeling you’re being watched? The Internet of Things is making surveillance even simpler for security services, to such an extent that Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has declared that smart meters, cameras, and other IoT devices are being co-opted to listen into conversations and generally keep an eye on you.
In 2015, Amazon.com Inc. began quietly evaluating a startup called Elemental Technologies, a potential acquisition to help with a major expansion of its streaming video service, known today as Amazon Prime Video. Based in Portland, Ore., Elemental made software for compressing massive video files and formatting them for different devices. Its technology had helped stream the Olympic Games online, communicate with the International Space Station, and funnel drone footage to the Central Intelligence Agency. Elemental’s national security contracts weren’t the main reason for the proposed acquisition, but they fit nicely with Amazon’s government businesses, such as the highly secure cloud that Amazon Web Services (AWS) was building for the CIA.
Last week on Capitol Hill, Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook were in front of Congress answering a wide variety of questions about censorship and privacy, algorithms and other online practices. While these hearings are necessary at some level, Congress is missing an even larger threat in regards to Americans' data and privacy: the Internet of Things, devices that millions of Americans have installed in their homes without realizing how insecure many of them are and where the data being collected by every IoT feature is actually going.
A Harvard report no sooner debunked the FBI’s “Going Dark” argument than the U.S. intelligence chief admitted the government might use your “smart” internet-connected devices to spy on you.
Amongst the many, many CIA exploits of Apple, Google and Microsoft consumer technology in today's Wikileaks massive info dump was a particularly novel project to spy on Samsung smart TVs.
The latest revelations about the U.S. government’s powerful hacking tools potentially takes surveillance right into the homes and hip pockets of billions of users worldwide, showing how a remarkable variety of everyday devices can be turned to spy on their owners.
THE NSA, IT seems, isn't the only American spy agency hacking the world. Judging by a new, nearly 9,000-page trove of secrets from WikiLeaks, the CIA has developed its own surprisingly wide array of intrusion tools, too.