The internet of things: how your TV, car and toys could spy on you

As our homes get ‘smart’, the US intelligence chief has said the data involved could be used for surveillance. Here’s how that could affect us allCan your smart TV spy on you? Absolutely, says the US director of national intelligence. The ever-widening array of “smart” web-enabled devices pundits have dubbed the internet of things [IoT] is a welcome gift to intelligence officials and law enforcement, according to director James Clapper

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US intelligence chief: we might use the internet of things to spy on you

James Clapper did not name specific agency as being involved in surveillance via smart-home devices but said in congressional testimony it is a distinct possibilityThe US intelligence chief has acknowledged for the first time that agencies might use a new generation of smart household devices to increase their surveillance capabilities.As increasing numbers of devices connect to the internet and to one another, the so-called internet of things promises consumers increased convenience – the remotely operated thermostat from Google-owned Nest is a leading example. But as home computing migrates away from the laptop, the tablet and the smartphone, experts warn that the security features on the coming wave of automobiles, dishwashers and alarm systems lag far behind

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The government just admitted it will use smart home devices for spying | Trevor Timm

Many consumers are wholly unaware that the smart devices making their home more custom and responsive are making data that can be hacked or collectedIf you want evidence that US intelligence agencies aren’t losing surveillance abilities because of the rising use of encryption by tech companies, look no further than the testimony on Tuesday by the director of national intelligence, James Clapper.As the Guardian reported, Clapper made clear that the internet of things – the many devices like thermostats, cameras and other appliances that are increasingly connected to the internet – are providing ample opportunity for intelligence agencies to spy on targets, and possibly the masses. And it’s a danger that many consumers who buy these products may be wholly unaware of

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Samsung SmartThings Hub review: an Internet of Things to rule them all?

Hoping to be the one-stop-shop for open IoT control, it joins up various new and existing connected devices in a user-friendly and powerful systemThe Internet of Things – where seemingly ordinary devices connect to each other and the internet to make them more than the sum of their parts (think fridges that know when you’re out of milk and then order more for you) – is still more a concept than a reality for many. That is steadily changing as more and more devices arrive on the market but, like the spokes on a bicycle wheel need a hub to connect them, those devices need to be linked up to be useful. Samsung’s SmartThings hub hopes to be that central pin that connects them all

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Big Mother: is tracking technology a threat to a healthy childhood?

Tracking children with GPS-enabled devices is becoming practical and affordable, but child rights and privacy campaigners are worriedLosing track of a child is a terrifying prospect. The recent emergence of GPS devices that can report on youngsters’ whereabouts, coupled with the falling prices of gadgets, seem to offer parents a tech solution. Swedish firm Trax, for example, has designed a GPS tracker, on sale for $249 (£170), that issues alerts when children step outside of pre-set “geo-fences” and allows parents to follow their children from their smartphone or computer in real time

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Meet Viv: the AI that wants to read your mind and run your life

The team behind Siri have a new idea: a voice-controlled personal assistant – linked to all your devices – that will take care of your every needSo I’ve arrived late at the office of Viv, an artificial intelligence company based in San Jose, California. I missed my train from San Francisco after dawdling leaving my apartment and then finding the taxi service app on my phone wouldn’t work. Dag Kittlaus, who I’ve kept waiting, looks on the bright side

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Search engine lets users find live video of sleeping babies

Shodan’s search engine capabilities show the need for ‘internet of things’ security to be taken more seriously For every benefit of the internet of things, such as being able to unlock a garage door with your mobile phone, or find your car keys by sending them a text message, there’s a downside.From web-connected smoke-alarms that can be “unintentionally deactivated” with the wave of a hand to smart light fixtures that, after a software update, refuse to work with lightbulbs made by other brands, it sometimes seems like the internet of things is just an abbreviation “the internet of things that should not have been connected to the internet”. Continue reading

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Bug in Nest Thermostat turns off heating for some

Alphabet-owned internet of things company acknowledges problem that drains the battery of smart device leaving some users without thermostatic controlNest has acknowledged a software bug is affecting some of its smart thermostats causing the high-profile internet of things device to stop working.The bug drains the battery within the thermostat, even if the device is plugged in, forcing it to disconnect from boilers and air conditioning systems, turning them off before it shuts down. Continue reading

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How we talk about privacy matters

While privacy debates will be dominated by issues such as surveillance, we must also find ways to make people care enough about their personal dataWhen it comes to discussions about privacy, the terms of debate are important. We are battling to protect our personal data on many fronts: government mass surveillance; smart sensors tracking our every move; big data aggregating it all and more. But perhaps the biggest challenge in the coming years is convincing people to care enough to fight back against privacy erosion, which we often don’t even realise is happening

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How many tech firms does it take to change a light bulb for the worse? Only one: Philips

The company’s Hue controllers allow you to change the colour and brightness of bulbs. But then Philips decided to block third-party suppliers.You know how frustrating it is when you put a cartridge in your printer, and it tuts at you about “not an approved part”, after which, printing becomes even more of a lottery than usual? Now you can get the same experience with light bulbs

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