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Is your tech gift creepy? Nonprofit’s gift guide looks at privacy, security concerns – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2020-12-21 06:44:22 –

Kansas City, Missouri — Someone on the Christmas list may want a gift with all the jingle bells and whistles.

According to a recent report by the Consumer Electronics Association, 72% of adults in the United States planned to buy high-tech products as gifts this year.

With endless choices, it can be difficult to decide on the perfect gift.

“Many review sites review features and reliability, but no one has reviewed privacy and security,” said Jen Caltrider, a researcher at the Mozilla Foundation. .. ‘”

Three years ago, Mozilla, a non-profit organization, created the * Privacy Not Included Gift Guide.

The researcher reviewed over 130 technical products to determine the level of eerieness in terms of privacy and security.

To reach a conclusion, Mozilla staff asked the following questions:

  • Does the product have a privacy policy?
  • Is the data encrypted?
  • Do you need a strong password?
  • What is the company’s track record of protecting data?

If a warning signal is found, Mozilla has labeled those products as “privacy not included”.

This was the children’s label on the UBTECH JIMU Robot Kit.

Mozilla has expressed concern about UBTECH’s children’s robot kit.

Mozilla points out apps that bots use to access cameras, microphones and track locations. Researchers have not found a privacy policy that governs all the data collected by the app.

UBTECH did not answer the question from 41 Action News I-Team.

So was the maker of Wicked Bone, an interactive toy for dogs.


Mozilla researchers said the product seems to have no way of managing security vulnerabilities. He also expressed concern about bone apps that require GPS location data.

For Caltrider, the most prominent list gift was Amazon’s Halo Fitness Tracker.

It has a microphone that can track your voice during the day and analyze it for energy and aggressiveness.

To calculate body fat composition, Halo asks users to upload photos with minimal, snug clothing.

“I don’t know all of you, but I don’t want to give my picture to Amazon in my underwear,” Cartrider said.

Amazon halo.PNG
Mozilla * Privacy Not Included Guide Screenshot

According to Amazon, images are processed in the cloud and deleted automatically.

Also, the data is encrypted both in transit and at rest.

“Privacy is the foundation of how Amazon Halo is designed and built,” said an Amazon spokeswoman. “Both body and tone are optional features that are not required to use the product. Amazon does not have access to body scan images or tone audio samples. We do not use Amazon Halo health data for marketing, product recommendations, or advertising. Do not sell customer data. “

Some other Amazon products, such as the 2-in-1 Kitchen & Market for KidKraft Amazon Alexa, are labeled * Privacy Not Included.

When combined with an Amazon Echo device, the kitchen and market provide children with interactive play through KidKraft skills. Amazon skills are like Alexa apps.

“If you put the Alexa smart speaker in the middle of the kitchen, you can play with the kids, along with a bunch of RFID sensors,” says the Mozilla guide.

Researchers pointed out that the Amazon skill store didn’t require a link to a privacy policy, so it couldn’t determine what data was collected or how voice interaction was used.

Amazon said children’s skills cannot collect personal information. The company’s policy also requires developers of skills that collect personal information to provide a privacy policy, which will be displayed on the skill details page.

“Children’s skills shouldn’t include advertising, collect personal information, or include content that isn’t suitable for all ages,” an Amazon spokeswoman wrote. “Parents can view and delete audio recordings associated with their account at any time through the Alexa app or the Alexa Privacy Hub.”

Overall, Caltrider said he wants the guide to conduct a survey and encourage more questions before adding the item to the cart.

“What we want is not to scare consumers, but to let them make wise decisions when buying from privacy-focused companies, and make money from you. “She said.

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