A little while ago, Reader Sam D. had this thought about Amazon’s Alexa:
“Why would anyone WANT his own personal Stasi agent in his home, AND be paying for it?”
Indeed. Somebody remind me again why I’m not wired into the Internet Of Things:
If you’re a Google user, you probably noticed some trouble last night when trying to access Google-owned services. Last night, Google reported several issues with its Cloud Platform, which made several Google sites slow or inoperable. Because of this, many of Google’s sites and services–including Gmail, G Suite, and YouTube–were slow or completely down for users in the U.S. and Europe.
However, the Google Cloud outage also affected third-party apps and services that use Google Cloud space for hosting. Affected third-party apps and services include Discord, Snapchat, and even Apple’s iCloud services.
But an especially annoying side effect of Google Cloud’s downtime was that Nest-branded smart home products for some users just failed to work. According to reports from Twitter, many people were unable to use their Nest thermostats, Nest smart locks, and Nest cameras during the downtime. This essentially meant that because of a cloud storage outage, people were prevented from getting inside their homes, using their AC, and monitoring their babies.
Don’t think you can escape this bullshit by jumping in your car and getting out of town, either:
Governments are collecting lots of data on the people using roads, trains and buses, and without proper oversight, that information could easily be misused.
(I’ve often wondered, by the way, if my movements are being studied by way of my phone location software. As I drive for Uber, I bet it’s interesting reading: “He goes to the airport three or four times a day and never seems to drive back… WTF?”) And speaking of which:
I wonder why they bother to warn us anymore.
And then there’s this:
Sleep Number, one company that makes beds that can track heart rate, respiration and movement, said it collects more than 8 billion biometric data points every night, gathered each second and sent via an app through the internet to the company’s servers.
“This gives us the intelligence to be able to continue to feed our algorithms,” CEO Shelly Ibach told attendees at a Fortune Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego last month.
Analyzing all that personal data, Ibach continued, not only helps consumers learn more about their health, but also aids the company’s efforts to make a better product.
Still, consumer privacy advocates are increasingly raising concerns about the fate of personal health information — which is potentially valuable to companies that collect and sell it — gathered through a growing number of internet-connected devices.
What I’d like to do is hack into this system, and publish a Wanking Hard Incidence Ranking Report (WHIRR!) for every member of Congress.
Maybe then someone would take this loss of privacy thing seriously.