A new report has revealed that both Google and Amazon are yet again stepping up their data collection efforts by requiring some smart home device makers to send a continuous stream of data back to their servers, even when no voice command is used.
The report from Bloomberg suggests that Google and Amazon originally only collected data from connected smart home devices when they were asked to perform a specific action, such as turning a light on or off, through a voice command. However, now Google and Amazon are recommending, and sometimes even requiring, smart home device makers to send a constant stream of information back to their servers, regardless of whether the user has said the wake word.
This change will allow Google and Amazon to collect data about how you use these connected smart home devices, even when they’re not used in a smart capacity. This would mean that if you turned a smart home connected light switch off manually, this information would be sent to Google and Amazon’s servers. Or, if you had a TV connected to your smart home system, Google and Amazon would be able to collect detailed data on your viewing habits, even if you didn’t use any voice commands.
The report also highlights that there’s currently no way to opt-out of this data sharing. The only way to stop the data sharing is to unplug the smart home device from the system.
This is sadly yet another sign that companies such as Google and Amazon are constantly surveiling and collecting highly personalized data in real-time from customers that are heavily invested in their ecosystems. This data will soon include information on how customers use the connected devices in their home (which will be sent from smart appliances, lights, TVs, and any other connected devices) and currently includes live video feeds (from smart security cameras), regular audio feeds (from smart assistants), and real-time internet browsing data (from mesh WiFi networks).
It’s the latest in a series of reports that suggest these companies will stop at nothing to gobble up your data. Yesterday Amazon acquired the mesh WiFi router company Eero – a move that’s likely to allow it to collect real-time internet browsing data in the future. And recently it was revealed that Google abused its Apple Enterprise Developer certificate to collect iOS data.
This gets even creepier when you consider there’s often no way to opt-out of this data collection and that both of these companies have suffered large data breaches in the past.
If you’re starting to fill your home with these smart home connected devices, stop and think about whether you really want to be sending all that data back to these tech giants.