"Smart home" companies refuse to say whether law enforcement is using your gadgets to spy on you

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/20/the-walls-have-ears.html

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Dude, they’re not just spying, they’re selling tickets.


i don’t see the conflict. these gadgets are owned by rich people but poor people commit all the crimes. maybe the cops are just indulging their voyeuristic tendencies …? It could be boring w/ nothing to do all day but enforce other peoples laws.

I have not thought this through yet but…
Does anyone know of a purpose-designed doorbell/camera thing that connects to one’s home wifi and which can be operated/viewed from another device on the same network (e.g. a phone or tablet) without going via some provider’s remote/cloudy servers?
I want to use the wifi network to see who is at the door from a couple of floors up, without having to come down and see every time. (Half the time it is a delivery which will be left on my non-pubicly-visible porch if I do not answer - which is fine, I can get the parcel when I do come down.)
I guess I could stick some sort of wireless webcam to the door, but it’s hardly elegant. Also a talk-back function would be nice.
I’d rather not rely on some “lifetime” guarantee of service that will last until they go bankrupt or release the next generation device, and not rely on some device provider who may be giving my privacy away to who knows who.

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i thought that bluetooth is a vector for LEO.

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Honestly, if you aren’t committing a crime, what’s the big deal? If you don’t want them listening/looking in, unplug the device. Problem solved.

It’s not just your devices. LE also has access to other people’s devices that look at you. And increasingly, ordinary devices are connected to the web. Want a new TV? At some point you may not be able to buy one that isn’t a “smart” TV. Want a computer? Yeah, some won’t work at all until you connect to the internet to register and update. Need to connect with business and government? Increasingly you can’t do that via a POTS land line. It’s just not possible to be a fully functioning citizen in our economy without some internet connected devices.

Privacy is about control, not about whether you are doing something wrong. Your house probably has blinds or curtains on the windows even though you aren’t doing something “wrong” in your house.


Yeah, it’s not like authorities ever abuse their power, right?

Hell, the NSA had a name for stalking^watching people for reasons - LOVEINT.


I understand all of that, but some of m house has neither. But I digress. You have choices when buying equipment, and you can choose to buy upgraded and connected products or not. Don’t complain about the consequences of your actions.

I reject the idea that we must cede our privacy to the government if we buy connected devices. I’m fully within my rights to complain about government overreach and invasion of privacy. I could just as easily say you shouldn’t complain when government agents invade your house and search it from top to bottom. Your exact same blame the victim arguments apply - it’s your fault for having stuff they can search, and if you aren’t doing anything wrong it’s NBD. I’d say you really haven’t though through the logical consequences of your argument.


First of all, I never said you shouldn’t complain. Secondly, if they want to come in, I’ll gladly let them in.
I’m not blaming the victim. I’m simply pointing out the fact that if you buy connected items (I have several) don’t be all up in arms at the fact that you could be hacked or spied upon. In other words, understand and accept the consequences. Fully.


Well, props to you for consistency. But personally, I’m kind of pro 4th Amendment.

If you wear skimpy clothing you might be harassed. But that doesn’t make it ok or your fault. Same goes for government spying. Yes, you can reduce the possibility of extra-legal and/or excessive government spying by not having connected and IoT devices, but that doesn’t make it your fault if the government spies on you or ok for the government to do so.



Here we go…


Why do you hate, Big Brother? Don’t you know he loves you…? /s


Yeah, I totally want just any random stranger listening in when I’m having sex or taking a crap… because those actions aren’t doing anything “wrong” or ‘illegal,’ right?


That’s what you get for having IoT stuff in your home. That’ll learn ya!


I’ve been paranoid before it was cool, yo; I don’t have any of that shit in my home, except for my cell phone.

That said, I still don’t believe the government or any agency has a “right” to spy on its people arbitrarily just because they bought certain products, or that said spying is not wrong if one isn’t doing anything ‘bad.’


siri ?? alexa ?? is the gov’t spying on me through you ??


Thank you. You took the words right out of my mouth.