Are smart devices taking over our lives?

Are smart devices taking over our lives?

Every household amenity in the United States is somehow always connected to the internet as often referred to as  smart devices. This can range from a thermostat, that you can operate using your smart phone, to a TV that enables your access to Netflix, a digital assistant like Google home or Alexa, and even a refrigerator that reminds you to buy a particular food item when it is nearly over.

 

As surprising as it sounds, all these smart devices have access to your life and can moderate it through the “internet of things”. It can bring ease to your lifestyle but there lies a hidden truth behind it.

 

Northeastern University professor, David Choffnes and his colleagues raised an important question on the smartness of the latest amenities. They questioned whether these smart devices still continue to fetch data even when they are not in use. Their research finally answered their question in affirmation. Smart devices do continue to collect data even when they are powered off.

 

Molly Callahan reports that Choffnes and his colleagues invited a group of students to live in an apartment packed with all the smart devices and use them according to their own wish. The apartment was a modern one with devices ranging from a smart TV to a smart microwave.

 

Choffnes collected the internet data accumulated after using these smart devices to analyse “what’s normal and what’s not”. However, they could not particularly track the data usage as it was mostly encrypted. Even though this suggests that the data is protected, the flow of data cannot still be tracked.

 

What they found can take people by surprise. Even when you do not possess any of these smart devices, you can still get into it being in the same environment as them. Much is left to find out about these devices and the way they behave when not being controlled by human beings.

 

Choffnes warns, “You should know upfront the risks of these devices as you enter your home, and our goal is to find ways to protect users who don’t want their information shared across devices.”

 

While performing the research, he did appreciate the usefulness of the devices but remarked that he is too old school to get accustomed to them.

 

Subarna Basu

Subarna Basu
Subarna Basu

pami.tuli@gmail.com

A final year English Honors student, waiting for Godot.

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