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Consumers Are Holding Off On Buying Smart-Home Gadgets Due To Security, Privacy Fears (businessinsider.com) 143

According to a new survey from consulting firm Deloitte, consumers are uneasy about being watched, listened to, or tracked by devices they place in their homes. The firm found that consumer interest in connected home technology lags behind their interest in other types of IoT devices. Business Insider reports: "Consumers are more open to, and interested in, the connected world," the firm said in its report. Noting the concerns about smart home devices, it added: "But not all IoT is created equal." Nearly 40% of those who participated in the survey said they were concerned about connected-home devices tracking their usage. More than 40% said they were worried that such gadgets would expose too much about their daily lives. Meanwhile, the vast majority of consumers think gadget makers weren't doing a good job of telling them about security risks. Fewer than 20% of survey respondents said they were very well informed about such risks and almost 40% said they weren't informed at all.
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Consumers Are Holding Off On Buying Smart-Home Gadgets Due To Security, Privacy Fears

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  • Oh really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2017 @05:14AM (#55560899)

    You mean it's not because they're not really, you know, that useful?

    Pretty much every home automation gadget I have seen so far is just another take on the 'fixing something that ain't broke' rule.

    • Re:Oh really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @05:24AM (#55560933) Journal
      I suspect it's a mixture of several reasons. In no particular order:
      • Complexity implies unreliability. Something with a simple mechanical switch is likely to be (or, at least, perceived to be likely to be) more durable than something with a microprocessor, a smartphone app, and some cloudy things.
      • Most 'home automation things are not actually useful.
      • They're all big on vendor lock-in. This means that you're screwed if the vendor goes out of business, but it also means that devices from different vendors don't play nice together. People don't actually want to have 20 apps installed on their phones to control different aspects of their homes.
      • They're getting a reputation for poor security - who wants their home to advertise to potential burglars that they're going to be out for the next few hours?
      • Even when they have decent security, that just means that unauthorised people won't get the data, it doesn't mean that the vendor won't be spying on you and selling info about the inside of your house.
      • Even the useful things are very expensive both in relation to build costs and to utility.
      • They're so very hipster that if you don't live in the Bay Area you'd be deeply embarrassed if any of your friends saw that you owned one.
      • Generally agree with your points; home automation components likely max out around a 12-year life, and one little component breaking can be quite a pain.

        However, vendor lock-in is generally only an issue with the simplest of setups. With a ~$300 controller (plus $50 power line modem) I can manage insteon, zigbee, IR, and any network accessible resource for control at a minimum. Status can be a little more tricky, or require extra components.

        A year ago, it took a reasonably tech savvy person to do it. A d

      • Re:Oh really? (Score:5, Informative)

        by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @09:01AM (#55561703)

        For me, the lack of a real standard is the big thing that plagued home automation for decades. They should have learned their lessons by now, but no...

        I considered it a I was working on my house a few years ago. I had to completely overhaul the wiring, lighting, heating, A/C etc... so I looked into it since it was almost a clean slate. And guess what, I found absolutely nothing satisfying.
        First problem is the price : a standard, good quality name brand light switch is around $10, its smart counterpart is maybe $50. Do this for all the small things and it adds up to thousands. Not a deal breaker but enough to seriously consider the value of such a system.
        Second is the lack of choice. To continue with the light switch, my local DIY store has plenty of light switches of various designs, the smart light switch is only available online an only has a single design.
        Third is compatibility : now that I found the overpriced smart light switch and smart light bulb that fits my need, turns out that they are not compatible. There may be shims and gateways that can make them understand each other but at that point, I have already given up.
        Fourth is the lack of long term guarantee : this is for my house, not for a smartphone. I expect my system to last for at least 10 years, and hope for 20 or 30. This kind of work is quite an investment and I want it to last. Systems that stop working after 3 years? No thanks.

        The system that grabbed my attention the most is KNX : it's an ISO standard and it's robust but it is too expensive and it is not the kind of stuff you find everywhere.

        • So concerned with vendor lock in that they forget about long-term customer lock-in. You can't make someone think about their home the way they think about "disposable" tech. The lack of interoperability is number 1. Number 2 is the external dependency on a server to do basic control functions - and that server will go away before the device fails.

          I want it to connect to my own home hub or server for the same reason I prefer Blu-Ray over "digital copies." I am in control of when it goes away.

          • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

            Blu-Ray disks have quite nasty copy protections built-in. While they are better than Netflix and the like in term of being in control, they are clearly not ideal.
            It is a bit sad but if you want HD, pirate copies may be your only option. DVDs are fine, they are encrypted but their copy protection (CSS) is permanently broken.

            • Blu-Ray copy protection is permanently broken for all the discs I own. And that's enough for me. If I stop being able to rip them, I stop buying them. I hate dealing with physical discs and copy them to a media server anyway.

        • This might be a noob question, but why do you need a smart bulb separate from a smart switch?
          • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

            The point of a smart switch is that it can be assigned any function. For example you can decide that turning on the light in the bathroom also turns on the fan, and when you turn it off, the light turns off but the fan stays on for 10 minutes to extract the humid air.
            You can also assign a switch that turn all lights off, close the blinds, turns on the alarm, etc... for when you leave. You can also combine motion detection and switches.
            The switch isn't connected directly to the light bulb. Instead, it sends

      • by Anonymous Coward

        They're all big on vendor lock-in. This means that you're screwed if the vendor goes out of business

        It's not just "if" the vendor goes out of business, we've seen several times over the last few years vendors just deciding they can't be bothered to support a device anymore (in some cases their device was just over 2 yrs old!).

        It's not just the threat of vendors shutting shop, or bricking devices (see Logitech), but what happens if there's a problem on the server end , or (even more likely) a problem with the customers internet connection ?

        Being the cynical asshole that I am, I don't trust them. I

        • Yeah - as far as I'm concerned the *only* legitimate reason for a "smart-home ____" to send data to a remote server is to post it's IP address so that I can find it remotely without needing to pay for a static IP. And it should do that in a standard, adjustable manner so I can choose any such "address book server" for the job.

          There's undoubtedly value to be had in collecting and amalgamating data from millions of users - and if they want to pay me for that value *maybe* I'll consider selling it. But proba

    • Re: Oh really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2017 @07:07AM (#55561223)

      Also, it's not security and privacy fears. It's security and privacy ISSUES. I love how these articles all make refusal to adopt subscription money sucking, poorly engineered, planned obsolete data collecting trash as somehow being an issue of fear. It's an issue of rational thought.

      • adopt subscription money sucking

        Like Echo/Alexa requiring a "music storage" service to hold your music somewhere outside of your home just to charge money to stream it back to you. Google gives you reasonable amounts of external storage, but then won't let you connect a nice external amp/speaker to their voice control system.

    • Lighting control, security, and whole house audio are areas where it clearly is valuable; whole house TV/watch anywhere is likely not as much of a "killer app." My wife and I love having all the disparate lights go on at set schedules and based on it sensing motion. It is nice to have Sonos start up when we turn on the kitchen lights, and unmute the bedroom speakers a few minutes after the lights go on. It is nice having the Christmas lights come on both in the early morning and evening, but shutting off

      • Lighting control, security, and whole house audio are areas where it clearly is valuable

        "Clearly"? That all sounds dreadful to me. I'd pay extra not to have those "features".

        Fortunately I don't have to, but it may yet become difficult to avoid all this crap. Our television died this week, and when I went to replace it, I found exactly one model for sale that didn't have idiotic, pointless, vulnerability-ridden "smart" features. (There were probably others that would work as conventional sets without network access, but of course it's impossible to tell from the box whether they'll refuse to wo

    • Re:Oh really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jody Bruchon ( 3404363 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @08:50AM (#55561645)
      What bothers me about them is that most of these "smart" things don't work without the vendor actively allowing it and don't work without being connected to the damned internet all the time. If the vendor stops supporting it or goes out of business...it's a very expensive pile of bricks. There is no value to me in buying stuff like that and modifying my house to accept it all when I can't guarantee it'll be functional in even 5 years! It's not a cell phone; you can't just go out and buy another smart home system and install it in five minutes. Plus, what happens when it breaks down or stops working? Do you lose the ability to use the smart things in a stupid way, i.e. are you now locked out of your house?
      • Wave after wave of "Other OS" [slashdot.org] style class-action lawsuits will be the only thing that maybe makes this finally stop. External server or not, you're changing the functionality of the device post-purchase. The ONLY acceptable time to do this is post-bankruptcy. And even then, it would be better to open-source the server software or publishing the protocol as you go down.

      • Yeah. The only smart-home gadget I'd buy is one that will still work after I modify my router's security settings to prevent it from accessing anything outside my home network, and I can access it remotely by VPNing into my home network.
    • The biggest problem I've seen is that gizmos that might actually be good for something generally have user interfaces that are horrible beyond belief. The multitude of simple mechanical devices in a modern household -- can openers, thermostats, light switches, etc have evolved over decades or centuries into simple forms that are comprehensible and easy to use. Their digital replacements often are strange beyond belief.

  • Security (Score:4, Interesting)

    by inking ( 2869053 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @05:28AM (#55560953)

    Are you sure it’s not the fact that a smart valve controlling how much hot water comes into your heating costs several hundred dollars whereas a non-smart one costs a bit more than a coffee?

    • It's worse than that. A modern digital thermostat is programmable and the entire system is not much more expensive than an old-style analogue one. Throw in an Internet connection, and you get to pay double the price to be dependent on some cloud provider (and your ISP) for working heating. Hmm, which one should I buy...?
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Here is a link to the actual report: https://www2.deloitte.com/cont... [deloitte.com]

      Reading it, they say that consumers do actually understand that companies (ab)use their personal data and share it with third parties. They also say that 91% are willing to accept legal terms when using apps, web sites and wifi without bothering to read them. Most importantly, since there is no real choice (everything has an EULA, all of them are impenetrable legalese) consumers don't see that as a barrier to ownership, just an inherent p

    • Are you sure it’s not the fact that a smart valve controlling how much hot water comes into your heating costs several hundred dollars whereas a non-smart one costs a bit more than a coffee?

      And given the fact the smart ones pay for themselves over time, why should I "waste" the coffee money?

  • by infolation ( 840436 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @05:34AM (#55560977)
    Smartphones are no better... but their privacy-undermining technologies are not explained in simple language to consumers.

    The 'Smart-Home Gadget' explicitly advertises its privacy invasive status, whereas the camera-and-microphone-equipped smartphone device they carry everywhere they go (and sleep with in their bed) has apps installed with equally privacy invasive permissions and features.

    When I read 1984 as a child, Winston had to sit in an alcove, unseen by the telescreen, to write his diary. I was bought up to find the concept of the telescreen abhorrent.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I feel bad about the future (I have given up really). :( Already now, I will NOT get myself a smart phone. It is bad enough having a Microsoft Windows product, which makes my own computer alien to me, as if I didn't really owned it. A smartphone to me seems like a huge security risk.

    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @06:39AM (#55561151)

      Smartphones are no better... but their privacy-undermining technologies are not explained in simple language to consumers.

      They're explained to consumers every time a data store gets hacked.

      They're explained to consumers every time a "bug" exposes data.

      They're explained to consumers every time a vulnerability is exploited on their perpetually unpatched hardware.

      Sorry, but I'm fucking done with the excuse that consumers somehow don't know. They know. They just don't care. Security is not worth the hassle to the masses.

      • > They know. They just don't care. Security is not worth the hassle to the masses.

        For many, a smart phone has become a necessity. Of course it ISN'T, but it's thought of as one. It's certainly convenient to always have your phone, email, various social networking apps, some games, and a web browser on your person at all times.

        The average person is also not a techie. A smart phone isn't a computer running various programs of various origins to them. It's just a thing that does stuff. A black box.

        • It's also a thing that many employers are starting to expect if not outright require.

        • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @07:51AM (#55561391) Homepage

          The average person is also not a techie.

          Actually, I don't think "being a techie" makes much difference either. Think about how many who are technically competent, including those that actually have an idea of what is going on and the capabilities of big data, still continue to use the services of Facebook, Google, and so on, despite the now almost weekly stories highlighting just how easy it is for companies to make connections and draw conclusions that at first seem to be impossible. Technical knowledge is almost certainly a major factor in why people eventually decide to opt-out (or try to), but it apparently has no bearing on why people keep voluntarily throwing their often highly personal data at all sorts of companies, as opposed to situations like Equifax, where they probably didn't even get a say in the matter. That willingness seems like it's mostly down to a combination of two things: apathy, in that they know but it's too much effort to change, or contentment, in that they've accepted the trade-off as they understand it (almost certainly poorly, regardless of technical aptitude) and don't see any need to even look for an alternative approach.

        • The average person is also not a techie...

          The "average person" is out there customizing Twitter pages, building business websites on Facebook, and creating videos riddled with special effects for a YouTube channel. They happily take the time to learn all that, but ensuring their devices are secure and they adhere to best practice? Nope, fuck that. Too much time and effort. It also might exacerbate FOMO and infringe on their right to YOLO. Strong passwords and MFA? Ain't nobody got time for dat!

          Sorry, but the average person is a techie; a tec

          • by evanh ( 627108 )

            There is one big difference. Security does stop things working if done wrong, or just doesn't do anything at all. Whereas no matter how little effort is put into it, fuddling around with a paint brush always does something effective in practice.

      • Sorry, but I'm fucking done with the excuse that consumers somehow don't know.

        What are you talking about? The connections between them are non-obvious to the vast majority of people, and furthermore don't affect an ever larger portion of them.

        I mean if this is your equivalent of education that consumers should react to then they should be running around screaming endlessly "the boogeyman is coming to get me, the boogeyman is coming to get me".

        None of what you posted has had any effect on consumers other than taking up a bit of media airtime.

    • by inking ( 2869053 )

      How are the two even remotely comparable? One is a tool to monitor and optimize the energy use in your house, the other a tool to monitor you and call the nation’s finest to toss you into a cell for what we as readers perceive to be unjust reasons.

      I too have read 1984 as a fourteen-year-old and it was my favorite book for a long while, so much so that I wish people would stop referring to it for entirely inane reasons.

      Like with all new technologies, there are bound to be issues with the implementa

    • by Anonymous Coward

      ...that is the ONLY acceptable behavior today. For everything to spy on you.

      And they want to force it on everyone else, without understanding how that should be a CHOICE.

      The thing that I can't comprehend is how this is acceptable and legal behavior while we are not allowed to record interactions as a two-party state.

      Information asymmetry indeed!

  • by UPZ ( 947916 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @05:48AM (#55561023)
    Itâ(TM)s not just privacy. The software ends up rushed and with security holes, ready to be taken over by botnets. Security patches are almost non-existent. Vulnerabilities go unpatched. I run a linux homeserver and wouldnâ(TM)t touch IoT for reasons above.

    If I were making IoT devices and controlled how it could be done, Iâ(TM)d install snappy ubuntu core and let them take care of OS patches, focus on my software only (keeping costs to minimum) then open source the code after I declared its support cycle to be over. Probably make a killing while keeping costs lower than they currently are. But it means giving up control of the software eventually which people in corporate environments have difficulty with.
    • by jonwil ( 467024 )

      I don't get why manufacturers are so reluctant to provide even the most basic security on these things. There is no reason why these bluetooth "smart locks" (for example) couldn't implement decent authentication/encryption on the things except that the manufacturer wants to save the 1c/device (multiplied by x number of devices) it would cost to pay a few programmers to actually implement decent security (heck, they wouldn't need to reinvent the wheel when the open source community has already done it and th

      • The reason they don't want ot implement security is two-fold. First, the average consumer has no way to judge the security of various devices, so it's not going to increase sales now.. Second, it's kinda like the airlines all fucking you in unison. IF all of the IoT devices have the same shitty security, then it's not a point of difference, and no manufacturer needs to do it.

    • As long as it doesn't need to connect to the internet, security is easy with a firewall drop rule. Streaming content from multi-function devices makes things more complex, but you can still block everything that it doesn't demonstrably need to function. Home video cameras are also easy by forcing a VPN connection rather than allowing a cloud service; most are open protocol, and if they aren't, just return it since it is broken.

      Most of this stuff should never (need to) be updated-- isolation is sufficient

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2017 @05:51AM (#55561029)

    The people who would ponder a smart gadget to save money, probably are smart enough to embrace the myriad of cheaper heating/cooling/whatever strategies that save more. I mean, does a smart thermostat dial that learns your routine, an extremely simple algorithm, really deserve to be a couple hundred bucks compared to a $20 one that can be programmed? All it has going for it is being pretty and slightly more convenient but the few times it's better is not going to make up the difference to most people. It's not like its designers had to design something complex like a new 3d engine for the latest batch of video games.

    On top of that, switches are plain reliable. I've been in houses where 115 year old light switches (and wires) were still operating. Basic switchs cost around $1 or something today. I've had ceiling fans still work after 40 years, still on a basic switch, with a dangling yank cables operating the light and fan speed operation. Otoh, I've seen fans where $30 smart switches, controlling all operations from the light switch box, are broken after a measley 5 years and often unavailable since the model is updated or manufacturer just gone. Replacing an entire ceiling fan (or 2 or 3) is hours of aggravating physical work with ladders no smart switch is worth, no matter the few second conveniences it provides.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Overhead LED lights on a rack are just as bad. In the models I've seen, the lights are not replaceable. You just go out and buy a new rack, which will look different than the old one since that one was discontinued shortly after you bought it. You won't mind painting the ceiling again because the transformer block is now a different size.

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      The people who would ponder a smart gadget to save money, probably are smart enough to embrace the myriad of cheaper heating/cooling/whatever strategies that save more. I mean, does a smart thermostat dial that learns your routine, an extremely simple algorithm, really deserve to be a couple hundred bucks compared to a $20 one that can be programmed? All it has going for it is being pretty and slightly more convenient but the few times it's better is not going to make up the difference to most people. It's not like its designers had to design something complex like a new 3d engine for the latest batch of video games.

      On top of that, switches are plain reliable. I've been in houses where 115 year old light switches (and wires) were still operating. Basic switchs cost around $1 or something today. I've had ceiling fans still work after 40 years, still on a basic switch, with a dangling yank cables operating the light and fan speed operation. Otoh, I've seen fans where $30 smart switches, controlling all operations from the light switch box, are broken after a measley 5 years and often unavailable since the model is updated or manufacturer just gone. Replacing an entire ceiling fan (or 2 or 3) is hours of aggravating physical work with ladders no smart switch is worth, no matter the few second conveniences it provides.

      I've been experimenting with both smart and semi-smart (occupancy/vacancy sensor) switches. I have one Zwave 120V switch, a Zwave 240V switch on the waterfall pump, and probably a dozen occupancy/vacancy sensors that are independent of each other. The 240V switch developed an internal short on the 35th day (outside of Amazon warranty) and was a nightmare to get replaced under warranty. The 120V Zwave switch works, but is more expensive, more of a pain to set up, and more of a pain to maintain than occupa

  • Really useless, and they suck.
  • The title of my post was extracted from TFA, so no, consumers are not worried about the security risks. At least not worried enough to prevent them from buying it.

    It's also rather ironic that we're touting security as some kind of sudden concern with consumers when they already carry around the device that is "exposing too much about their daily lives", which they carry on them at all times.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's just the Trump voters.
    They don't want their house to be smarter than them.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @06:37AM (#55561145)

    Buying smart-home devices at this time would be really dumb. They are insecure, unreliable and overpriced. The only thing they will do for you is cause problems.

    • by ReneR ( 1057034 )
      yeah exactly, finally at least some consumers are getting that. We really need to start producing better products, and not this planned obsolescence cloud spying nonsense that stoops working in a year or two anyways, ...
    • Buying smart-home devices at this time would be really dumb. They are insecure, unreliable and overpriced. The only thing they will do for you is cause problems.

      FWIW none of the Google security and privacy engineers I know have any concern about having a Google Home in their house, and many do. Those who don't, don't because they don't see the value, not because they perceive privacy or security problems. I haven't spoken with any similar engineers at Amazon, but I expect the same is true there.

      IMO, the privacy concerns are overblown and based on a misunderstanding of how the tech works, and I think the big tech companies are also quite good at security. Pricing

      • FWIW none of the Google security and privacy engineers I know have any concern about having a Google Home in their house, and many do. Those who don't, don't because they don't see the value, not because they perceive privacy or security problems.

        I'll venture to say that somebody who works at Google already doesn't care about privacy - in particular for other people. It's probably a condition of employment. But that's not the issue. If you choose to be tracked, by buying a Google Home or suchlike, that's fine. The issue is that Google will track you whether you choose to be tracked or not, and there is no way to opt out (and no, the current "solution" they suggest, to create an account with them in order to to tell them "don't track" is not suffici

        • FWIW none of the Google security and privacy engineers I know have any concern about having a Google Home in their house, and many do. Those who don't, don't because they don't see the value, not because they perceive privacy or security problems.

          I'll venture to say that somebody who works at Google already doesn't care about privacy - in particular for other people.

          The truth is quite the opposite. Google hires the nerdiest of nerds, and they (we) care about what nerds care about.

          Google will track you whether you choose to be tracked or not, and there is no way to opt out (and no, the current "solution" they suggest, to create an account with them in order to to tell them "don't track" is not sufficient or even workable).

          Actually, that's not the opt-out mechanism. The opt-out mechanism is a setting that's tracked in a non-unique browser cookie, and, optionally, a browser plugin that makes sure the cookie doesn't get lost.

          IMO it's Google and other similar companies' business model that's based on a misunderstanding: the misunderstanding by the general population of Google's actions and scale of data gathering. As people were generally unaware, Google has expanded their spying and made stalking and data slurping the current accepted model for anything.

          Cite?

  • No. Just no. Sorry, but this simply cannot be the reason.

    We are talking about people who buy "smart locks" where they send a signal from their iPhone app to the server of the manufacturer of the lock who then in turn sends a signal to their lock, and who stare at you blankly with a "yes? so?" expression when you explain it to them like this.

    Whatever the reason may be for those people to not buy these gadgets, but security or privacy concerns are certainly not the reasons.

    • ... "smart locks" where they send a signal from their iPhone app to the server of the manufacturer of the lock who then in turn sends a signal to their lock...

      Okay, except that's not how smart locks work...

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z-Wave [wikipedia.org]

      • Lucky for us there is only one such standard. Oh, wait. No, there isn't. There is for example this [indiegogo.com]. Just read the "how it works" section.

        And how I know that they have control over the lock? Because else they couldn't do this [telegraph.co.uk].

      • But if you really prefer ZigBee based products, here [youtube.com] is a pretty neat presentation at a security conference from two years ago.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why do I need my toaster to tweet at my lightbulbs or the ability to look at my thermostat via a security camera over the internet, and then change the temperature setting by posting to instagram?

    • "Why do I need my toaster to tweet at my lightbulbs or the ability to look at my thermostat via a security camera over the internet, and then change the temperature setting by posting to instagram?"

      I'm sure Alexa can explain that to you if you just ask.

    • Stop trying to control your smart devices solely through IFTTT.

    • "I resent the implication that I'm a one-dimensional, bread-obsessed electrical appliance. "
  • Include me in the list.
  • I've no interest whatsoever in coming come to a burnt-out shell that used to be my apartment because some script kiddy wants to show off his 1337 5k111z on my "smart" oven. None.

    • I've no interest whatsoever in coming come to a burnt-out shell that used to be my apartment because some script kiddy wants to show off his 1337 5k111z on my "smart" oven. None.

      Manufacturers no longer give a fuck what you want. You'll get what makes them the most money.

      And no, the 1% fighting against that won't change a damn thing.

      Good luck finding anyone selling a "dumb" appliance 10 years from now.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You think I wont be able to buy the same basic stove inside a decade? Oh son. Yoy really need to get outside of your suburb sometime. The world is much less flat and similar than your connected brain has convinced you. SAD!

    • What the fuck kind of oven do you have that burns down your house!

  • by FudRucker ( 866063 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @08:01AM (#55561429)
    who wants an "always listening" microphone connected to a for-profit corporation sitting on their desk listening to EVERYTHING, every idle thought spoken out loud, every private conversation between two people be it, spouses, lovers, friends, business partners, siblings, etc.. all to be commoditized and used to advertise to you or sold to who knows what

    fuck that, amazon, google and microsoft can go to hell because i refuse to consent to that
    • who wants an "always listening" microphone connected to a for-profit corporation sitting on their desk listening to EVERYTHING, every idle thought spoken out loud, every private conversation between two people be it, spouses, lovers, friends, business partners, siblings, etc.. all to be commoditized and used to advertise to you or sold to who knows what

      Based on the number of "always listening" devices sold to date, I'd say millions of people do.

      fuck that, amazon, google and microsoft can go to hell because i refuse to consent to that

      Amazon, Google, and Microsoft no longer give a fuck what you think. Refuse all you want. You and the other 1% of consumers will be ignored.

    • Odds are you already have an "always listening microphone" with you right now, your smartphone.

      Alexa, Google Home and whatever Microsoft is selling are really just stationary extended beacons for your smartphone likely already has all those features plus it's a complete tagging and tracking system of your whereabouts and what your current interests are.

      Home microphone/speaker systems are just a little spackle to fill in one of the few remaining nitches for the surveillance industrial complex.

      Most of us now

      • by doom ( 14564 )
        Yes, that was the sort of thing I was wondering about. ALl of a sudden, now, they're worried about privacy? They're okay with email being spyed on, they carry tracking devices everywhere they go, they don't blink at NSA backdoors into the phone system... but all of a sudden, a microphone "in my home!", that crosses a psychological barrier for them.
        • by mikael ( 484 )

          Nobody has told them that it is possible to find the location of a smartphone or tablet simply by looking up the MAC address of their device using Google's geolocation services. NSA backdoors in the phone system - that's just to keep an eye on those terrorists. Police using smartphones as bugging devices - oh that's just used to catch out organized crime. The microphone in the home - that's something the KGB or Nazi Gestapo would do, thinking of all those world war II spy movies with microphones hidden in t

  • For me, security and privacy is a concern however I would honestly be surprised if that is ever adequately tackled. The main reason for me is the cost, most of these gadgets are fantastically expensive for what they are. The value just isn't in it for me.

  • Is anyone familiar with any reliable, robust self-hosted solutions for IoT gimmicks? Something capable of providing Google Assistant / Home style functionality? Is there still much room for things like X10? Is that still a thing going strong?

    RE self-hosting, I'd imagine it'd be possible to have a Pi style home hub, with potential for external hosting to unify it all - or alternatively have it running on a home server, again, something like a Pi or what-not?

    Does this exist in 2017 - something that's generic,

    • by tazan ( 652775 )
      I'm running some lights from a computer running HomeGenie with a Z-Wave dongle. It's not bad.
  • So... just how many of these consumers also shun the use of facebook, google, linkedin, instagram, etc., etc., etc.?

  • Not everything needs to be a smart (fill in the blank) device. Because to me, it feels like just another thing people are trying to resell and repackage the old as ideas for truly new things is harder to come by. It does not help when privacy, security, and maintenance comes into play. My 30+ year olf thermostat is the same today as it was 30 years ago. No need to make sure it's wirelessly connected, have the latest patches or worry about the nefarious things people could do to it. It is one of those "I do
  • by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @08:39AM (#55561597)

    Considering every breach, hack and leak that has already happened, and how much the tech industry is trying to push these spying devices into peoples' lives, 40% is still far from being good enough. The average consumer should be fighting back this trend of smart assistants and IoT devices like it was some sort of pandemic.

  • So what could I not do without? The CD replaced the LP because it had several advantages. It was smaller, better quality (Does not mean you have to like the better quality), contained more contend, no need to turn it over and almost the same price.

    So what is the actual advantage of the IoT, besides my phone? The phone is also not a thing that can do only one thing. It is a hand held PC.

    Do I actually need light switches that I can turn on the light from where ever I am in the world? How often would I do that

  • Compatibility and Longevity are huge issues.

    The market right now is a bit wild-west with compatibility issues. Not fun for real life unless you're into wasting your time.

    I don't want to buy things for my long term item (home) that are short term investments (sorry but your front door is no longer supported).

  • Every year at CES Samsung shows a bunch of "smart" appliances. One year they showed a smart washer and dryer and one onlooker asked "why does my clothes washer need Twitter"?

    Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

    I ended up buying a Speed Queen washer and dryer - made out of steel inside and out with mechanical controls - similar to the ones my mother used for 30 years without issue.

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      We've got black and yellow highway road construction signs that reference Twitter hashtags to get updates on road conditions ahead. How complex do things need to be?

  • I like tech. I also like old fashioned mechanical devices. But with all the abilities of modern devices no auto maker has really paid any serious attention to prevention of auto theft. This is as big a mystery as why banks will disallow complex pass words on accounts. I wonder how many millions could be saved if banks allowed strong pass words. And just why do automakers not use a strong collar on the steering post that would prevent extraction of the guts of the lock? We still can not even get a b
    • And just why do automakers not use a strong collar on the steering post that would prevent extraction of the guts of the lock?

      Because the automaker isn't the bank and they get their money either way. Or alternately, they are the bank (GM) and they still get to collect from the customer/insurance while selling another new car.

  • by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @10:28AM (#55562497)
    I bought a ZWave switch and dongle once during the Windows 98 days. Played with it a bit, but didn't really work very well. Needed the dongle in a specific place in the house to contact the switch or get another couple hundred dollar station. The next time I decided to pull it out ant play with it I was on Windows 7 and there was no compatible driver for the dongle. So I thought to myself, do I really need this switch to work this badly that I will want to buy a new dongle with every new OS? The answer was no so I gave up on home automation at that point.
    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Precisely.

      Such things need not only a standard, but an open standard, that evolves but maintains backwards compatibility. You don't want to push an update to the control software that stops your systems from doing what they've always done and have years of programming to do on your schedule, etc.

      And then you need a reason. I quite like having a remote control to my Christmas lights, that's all well and good. Saves me having to clamber under the tree. But everything else? I can live without it being gad

  • ... from consulting firm Deloitte, consumers are uneasy about being watched

    Yeah, because when it comes to security advice, Deloitte are the go [theguardian.com]-to [theregister.co.uk]-guys [theregister.co.uk] for that!

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