Imagine if the FBI asked you to put a device in your house that is always listening. The FBI promises us that it will only listen for certain things, such as gunshots or the voices of people on the FBI’s most wanted list. In exchange for this device that is always listening, you are getting greater safety. After all, if someone fired a handgun in your house, the FBI device can automatically dispatch the police much faster than you could dial 911. Would you volunteer for that?
Just change a few words and you have people not only volunteering but paying money to do so. Imagine if Google asked you to buy a device for your house that is always listening. Google promises us that it will only listen for certain things, such OK Google. In exchange for this device always listening, you are getting some convenience. After all, if you wanted to make coffee, OK Google can automatically start your coffee maker faster than you could.
And what convenience! I can unlock my door with my smartphone. I can turn on my lights without using my legs. I can find out about something without the hassle of typing.
Here is the bottom line: Can you really trust a for-profit business to permanently respect your privacy? (Especially one whose business it is not to respect your privacy.) Can you really trust that these devices will always be secure?
Smart homes are a dumb idea. And I can also say smart cars are a dumb idea as well. These are all solutions looking for a problem.