AMAZON AND GOOGLE could be monitoring your innermost habits through your smart home gadgets.
A report from Bloomberg suggests that both companies are making inroads to increase data collection from devices connected to their respective smart speakers - Amazon Echo/Alexa and Google Home/Assistant.
For several years, both companies have been keeping details of every action controlled via their systems - lights, plugs, doorbells, everything.
But now it appears that several companies have been asked to provide a "continuous stream" of data, regardless of whether the device was triggered by their system or directly from the manufacturers' app.
Given that companies like Logitech Harmony and SmartThings are themselves hubs for smart devices, this could give the two tech giants a huge supply of new data. Smart remotes will tell them what you watch. Turning the light out will tell them what time you go to bed. Smart locks will tell them whether or not they're engaged. And all of it could tell them whether or not you're at home - if the location data doesn't already.
All of this data combined and analysed (probably by AI) could give a disturbingly accurate picture of your entire life, and coupled with your phone, it won't just be limited to your home.
"You can learn the behaviours of a household based on their patterns," says Brad Russell, who tracks smart home products for researcher Parks Associates Inc. "One of the most foundational things is occupancy. There's a lot they could do with that."
Some companies are said to be pushing back, but the teesandsees of all of these products don't seem to limit the amount that Google and Amazon can learn and deduce.
"Oversharing for the sake of oversharing is probably never a good thing," says Ian Crowe, a senior director with Logitech. "We should have a good reason, and our users should agree it's a good reason," before sharing data.
Logitech has offered to tell Amazon and Google that the telly is on without going into details, but it now appears they want more.
Several smart home makers say they have been told that compromise is not good enough.
The danger here is that smart home products risk having to betray our trust, or risk being removed from the potentially lucrative arrangements with Amazon and Google.
Amazon has told Bloomberg it doesn't sell user data. It's hardly the point. μ
Ming-Chi Kuo says improved Face ID is also incoming
DCMS concludes firm should be subject to a compulsory code of ethics
The other Google news of the week
Everyone clear the Aria!