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Coddled, Surveilled, and Monetized: How Modern Houses Can Watch You

timothy posted about 5 months ago | from the eye-oh-tee dept.

Privacy 150

Presto Vivace (882157) links to a critical look in Time Magazine at the creepy side of connected household technology. An excerpt: A modern surveillance state isn't so much being forced on us, as it is sold to us device by device, with the idea that it is for our benefit. ... ... Nest sucks up data on how warm your home is. As Mocana CEO James Isaacs explained to me in early May, a detailed footprint of your comings and goings can be inferred from this information. Nest just bought Dropcam, a company that markets itself as a security tool allowing you to put cameras in your home and view them remotely, but brings with it a raft of disquieting implications about surveillance. Automatic wants you to monitor how far you drive and do things for you like talk to your your house when you're on your way home from work and turn on lights when you pull into your garage. Tied into the new SmartThings platform, a Jawbone UP band becomes a tool for remotely monitoring someone else's activity. The SmartThings hubs and sensors themselves put any switch or door in play. Companies like AT&T want to build a digital home that monitors your security and energy use. ... ... Withings Smart Body Analyzer monitors your weight and pulse. Teddy the Guardian is a soft toy for children that spies on their vital signs. Parrot Flower Power looks at the moisture in your home under the guise of helping you grow plants. The Beam Brush checks up on your teeth-brushing technique. Presto Vivaci adds, "Enough to make the Stasi blush. What I cannot understand is how politicians fail to understand what a future Kenneth Starr is going to do with data like this."

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The Watchers 'Wet Dream' (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407273)

IMHO, anyone who implements this and gets burgled should have known better.
The spooks will also love this.
The Advertisers will be frothing at the mouth at the thought of getting access to this.
'Dave, as you seem to have spent the last hour sitting on the John, perhaps you might be interested in a padded seat for your 'throne'?'

etc etc etc

This is just getting silly. Our private lives are NOT FOR SALE (or Spying)

Re:The Watchers 'Wet Dream' (2)

hubie (108345) | about 5 months ago | (#47407347)

But it all looks cool and futuristic-y when it is on Star Trek.

Re:The Watchers 'Wet Dream' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407545)

On Star Trek it is OK because we are all on the same side. It is us vs. the universe.

Short of having galactic terrorists to worry about, we tend to try and eat each other.

Re:The Watchers 'Wet Dream' (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 5 months ago | (#47407811)

I know I'm getting old, but more and moreâ¦I"m going retro, and analog.

I'm still mobile enough to get off my ass, and change the manual thermostat, etc.

WTF would I give out my energy info? I make enough $$ to pay them monthly, etc.

They only have a need to know if I"m having a problem paying, nothing more.

I just don't' get it when folks voluntarily give out SO much info on themselves. I don't see it being long till this really starts biting people in the ass.

Re:The Watchers 'Wet Dream' (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47408047)

On one hand, I keep up with the latest stuff (for example, testing out CentOS 7 that released yesterday.)

On the other hand, there are places where technology is pointless and can result in more problems than benefits.

The fridge is one example. I don't need a television, LCD screen, or fancy gewgaws on it. I just need it to keep my beer cold and my ice cream colder. Prices have gone up because of all the pointless add-ons, to the point where I might consider going with a natural gas fridge with the proper vent/flue installed. A gas fridge is a little bit more expensive... but uses zero electricity, all mechanical, and does not need Internet access for -anything-.

As seen in other /. replies, I'm doing what other people have stated, and looking at solar panels, a battery bank, and an inverter. The A/C and the other power hungry appliances will have to be on mains power, but for everything else, they can run from the inverter, and if the solar panels are not providing enough charge, mains power can be used as a last resort. An added benefit is the functionality of having an always-online UPS.

Problem with privacy is nobody cares. I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. For example, a DA getting E911 info of all protestors or even some teenagers in a park after dark, then doing a roundup a couple months later, and the E911 evidence would entail a 100% conviction rate since there would be no way around it.

Or the same info being used to adjust insurance rates. Someone drives past a bad section of town, their car and health premiums shoot up.

Re:The Watchers 'Wet Dream' (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 5 months ago | (#47408131)

The INTERNET OF THINGS

is a TROJAN HORSE.

Re:The Watchers 'Wet Dream' (1)

jhecht (143058) | about 5 months ago | (#47408225)

The Internet of **** Things, that is. Just a few days ago, it was science fiction. http://www.nature.com/nphys/jo... [nature.com]

Re:The Watchers 'Wet Dream' (1)

losfromla (1294594) | about 5 months ago | (#47408487)

If you reeally cared, you would build your house so insulated that you'd have no need of an A/C or heater. Build underground even, if you choose to as a way to reduce recurrent energy usage.

Re:The Watchers 'Wet Dream' (2)

AkkarAnadyr (164341) | about 5 months ago | (#47407783)

"The kind of wholesome, antiseptic universe these androids would create would be purgatory for a man like me!" - Harry Mudd, "I, Mudd" (TOS)

Xbox On! (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 5 months ago | (#47407953)

I always feared Big Brother's spy camera would come to my house.

What I never even *dreamed* is that not only would we accept it when it came, but that we would voluntarily pay $500 for it and even hook it up to our cable box and home network so it could monitor that too.

The more you know... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407297)

The more it can be used. For good or evil.

Re:The more you know about fatties... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407437)

Withings Smart Body Analyzer monitors your weight and pulse.

This is America. Weight = "big and fat and full of jiggly lard" and Pulse = "highly elevated due to walking up a single flight of stairs".

a Jawbone UP band becomes a tool for remotely monitoring someone else's activity

There will be a signal to noise problem. Noise = "munching on fattening snack while watching TV and believing absolutely everything it says"

Teddy the Guardian is a soft toy for children that spies on their vital signs.

It reports "well on their way to turning into little lardasses just like Mom. And Dad if he's involved."

It's just a mater of time... (4, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | about 5 months ago | (#47407301)

I always cringe a bit when I see the "put web cams in your house! For security!" commercials. It's just a mater of time until Xfinity or what not get's compromised and all those web cams you use to check your kids get used by other people... to "check your kids".

Re:It's just a mater of time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407361)

So, what would be the problem with that? Americans keep shouting "think about the children!"

Your wife is HOT (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about 5 months ago | (#47407405)

Here, let me turn down the thermostat for you.

Re:Your wife is HOT (1)

fredrated (639554) | about 5 months ago | (#47408053)

No! Turn UP the thermostat so she will take some cloths off!

Re:It's just a mater of time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407419)

A modern surveillance state isn't so much being forced on us

Depends on whether you're referring to government surveillance or private surveillance. Government surveillance most certainly is forced on you; coercion is the essence and primary tool of all government. Private surveillance is not coercive, unless of course they are sanctioned in any way by government.

Re:It's just a mater of time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47408151)

Private surveillance is not coercive in the sense that government is, you're right about that. It just takes a slightly different form of "it's all right here in the EULA, if you don't like it feel free to shop one of our competitors (who are doing the same thing)"

Re:It's just a mater of time... (1)

some old guy (674482) | about 5 months ago | (#47408305)

Depends on whether you're referring to government surveillance or private surveillance.

In a world where government can freely and unaccountably coerce the private, they are the same damn thing. What Facebook knows, the TLA's know.

Re:It's just a mater of time... (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 5 months ago | (#47407499)

You can put web cams on your house to see meth addicts in hoodies trying to break into your car. The cameras do help but I wouldn't go with them as a service, rather just get your own system. I have one and it's been especially good to get the lawn care folks to do their job. ;-)

Re:It's just a mater of time... (3, Funny)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 5 months ago | (#47407849)

this is why I'm really excited about Apple's HomeKit structure. It's essentially a "walled garden" to allow your devices to connect but keep them in line in terms of sharing information or providing external access. We really need a gatekeeper here to keep out the corporate predators. Apple is the only company with a legitimate financial interest in protecting your privacy, because it is a big differentiator between them and Google, Facebook and their ilk.

Re:It's just a mater of time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47408013)

I can't tell if you're trolling, in which case you should get modded up. If you are serious, you are grossly naive. All companies have a legitimate financial interest in protecting your privacy. How would Google sell advertisements if no one would use their phones out of privacy concerns? The fact is that we are perfectly willing to give up our privacy and security for convenience. If Apple can make more money from selling our privacy than they can if they do not, they will. To do otherwise would expose them to the wrath of shareholders.

Re:It's just a mater of time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47408141)

Somebody nonironically using a "think of the children!" bit on Slashdot?

Consider the shark jumped.

It's getting scary (3, Funny)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 5 months ago | (#47407307)

I went to the hospital a while back and they started collecting all sorts of private data. They even insisted on getting a blood sample, probably for some kind of DNA database. Then, when the doctor left me alone for a minute I looked on the counter at his clipboard and there it was. The smoking gun. He had PAGES of information on me. So be warned, the government is already doing everything it can to monitor the population.

Re:It's getting scary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407389)

Are you a Government troll trying to play against sensible paranoia?

Re:It's getting scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407635)

Are you a Government troll trying to play against sensible paranoia?

Sensible concerns based on acquaintence with the facts and knowledge of the kind of people who run things, that is NOT paranoia.

Re:It's getting scary (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about 5 months ago | (#47407409)

I went to the hospital a while back and they started collecting all sorts of private data. They even insisted on getting a blood sample, probably for some kind of DNA database. Then, when the doctor left me alone for a minute I looked on the counter at his clipboard and there it was. The smoking gun. He had PAGES of information on me. So be warned, the government is already doing everything it can to monitor the population.

No, it's just the Doctor and the Hospital trying to upcode [hb-whistleblower.com] your bill with a lot of unnecessary services. Lawyers are now hovering in on upcoding fraud. People think auto dealerships are bad, hospitals and doctors make them rank amateurs by comparison.

Re:It's getting scary (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about 5 months ago | (#47407433)

We don't have for-profit hospitals in Canada.

Re:It's getting scary (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 5 months ago | (#47407491)

You have for-profit doctors. They sure ain't workin' for free.

Re:It's getting scary (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#47407591)

Yeah, but you don't know how much money middlemen are sucking up in the US.

Luckily, at least there's a maximum of 20% going to your insurer's profit these days, but hospitals ownership/management, outsourced payment systems, ambulance service contractors: they're still all making money at unspecified rates(and I guess doctors make a little more than their Canadian counterparts).

Re:It's getting scary (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#47407755)

You have for-profit doctors. They sure ain't workin' for free.

In Canada, most doctors are paid by FFS (fee for service), which gives them some incentive to run up costs. But many other countries, and even some medical companies in America (such as Kaiser), put doctors on a fixed salary. This removes incentives to upcode, and encourages preventative care. For instance, dentists on fixed salaries are FOUR TIMES as likely to use dental sealants, because they no longer have a financial stake in future cavities.

Re:It's getting scary (1)

PurplePhase (240281) | about 5 months ago | (#47408477)

erm... Your first-order estimate is fine. Now look at the second-order equation:

What do people do when they are on a fixed salary? They look for extra income, especially when they have an inflated sense of self-importance. Whether doctors, politicians, or other government officials - they get bribed by whomever can benefit: namely drug manufacturers (doctors, dentists, health workers of all ilk), lobbyists and big businesses.

There's also the fixed salary but then putting doctors onto fixed schedules where they have to see 1 person every 15 minutes. Or 10. Or whatever the performance standards are nowadays for your health facility of choice (really the health 'provider' which is the insurance company, not the facility itself).

You cannot create a system which cannot be gamed.

This world continues its downward spiral into insanity.

Re:It's getting scary (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 5 months ago | (#47407529)

all the more reason, get more of those dollars from the government. It's all about the extras.

must be nice to live in a country with a (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about 5 months ago | (#47407675)

functioning health care system. HR 676, Medicare for All [healthcare-now.org]

Re:must be nice to live in a country with a (1)

Shados (741919) | about 5 months ago | (#47407779)

Yeah, it must be nice. Having lived in both Canada and the USA, I've unfortunately never experienced a functioning health care system :(

Re:It's getting scary (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 5 months ago | (#47407483)

No, it's just the doctor and the hospital trying to practice modern medicine. If they don't have every minute detail recorded, or if they don't order every test that might help, the predatory jackasses in this country will not hesitate to sue them for malpractice [blogspot.com] , claiming that they should instinctively know what tests will be meaningful for every single patient that enters their offices.

Want to get rid of those extra 'services'? (1)

AkkarAnadyr (164341) | about 5 months ago | (#47407803)

Just ask them to quote you the price. Even if they hem and haw about the price "varying between labs, subject to insurance adjustments" etc, the question alone has been enough to get my doc/NP to back down repeatedly in dictating which tests I should get. And if they shine it on that easily, I'm pretty sure it was non-essential to begin with.

Re:It's getting scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407447)

> I went to the hospital a while back and they started collecting all sorts of private data.

It isn't private data so the government does not need a warrant to access it. [aclu.org]

Re:It's getting scary (1)

gtall (79522) | about 5 months ago | (#47407495)

Just out of curiosity, how do you get from the data on the doctor's clipboard to the government is watching you? Was there some identifying information that only the government could collect that was populating the clipboard?

Re:It's getting scary (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#47407599)

No, they've just discovered EMRs for the first time. Medicine is a science, and, to quote mythbusters, the difference between science and goofing off is writing things down.

Re:It's getting scary (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 5 months ago | (#47407535)

Oh no, medical charts are useful and informative these days. You might not die! Scary!

(I get your concern, but come on, do you really want your doctor to not have access to your medical history?)

Re:It's getting scary (1)

westlake (615356) | about 5 months ago | (#47407679)

I went to the hospital a while back and they started collecting all sorts of private data. They even insisted on getting a blood sample...

Oh, poor baby.

Ken Starr is a bad example. (1, Interesting)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 5 months ago | (#47407313)

Sure, he did all kinds of dirt-gathering in order to try and impeach Clinton, but no one took him seriously. He lost a Supreme Court appointment, his case against Clinton was essentially turned into a laughingstock and ultimately thrown out. The only people who actually cared about the Monica Lewinsky affair were the people trying to use the case to score political points against Clinton and Starr himself - sort of like Benghazi today, except replace Ken Starr with John Boehner. I'm 90% sure the only reason Starr was even appointed as a special prosecutor was because he was the only person who would take a case like that.

Ken Starr was, and continues to be, a clown. Am I afraid of Ken Starr? No.

A better example would've been the NSA or FBI, who I'm sure could obtain and use data like this to incriminate people for actual crimes that could land them long prison sentences. The worst Ken Starr could ever do is accuse me of having sex.

Re:Ken Starr is a bad example. (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 5 months ago | (#47407355)

The Beam Brush checks up on your teeth-brushing technique. "... What I cannot understand is how politicians fail to understand what a future Kenneth Starr is going to do with data like this."

Bad example? You say that now, but just wait until we get a President caught brushing his teeth side-to-side and not up-and-down, then you'll be wishing for a Ken Starr to try and take him down.

Re:Ken Starr is a bad example. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407415)

You're on Slashdot. You couldn't possibly have ever had sex, just like the rest of us here.

Re:Ken Starr is a bad example. (2)

RoccamOccam (953524) | about 5 months ago | (#47407453)

If the commentator needs to personalize it, I would think that Janet Reno, would have been a far better example.

Re:Ken Starr is a bad example. (1)

mbone (558574) | about 5 months ago | (#47407461)

Sure, he did all kinds of dirt-gathering in order to try and impeach Clinton, but no one took him seriously.

Susan McDougal called. She wants to have a word with you. [wikipedia.org]

I predict that if some fine day a Federal prosecutor (independent or otherwise) decides for some bogus reason that they want to hassle you, you will take it very seriously indeed.

I agree Whitewater was, like Benghazi, a fake scandal, but fake scandals can hurt real people.

Re:Ken Starr is a bad example. (1)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 5 months ago | (#47407827)

I had actually been referring to the Lewinsky case - Whitewater is a different beast altogether. Whitewater wasn't so much people believing Ken Starr as it was people believing the testimony of two witnesses who had clear ulterior motives (in David Hale's case trying to cooperate to reduce additional charges against him, and in Jim McDougal's case trying to save his own skin from the bad loans he'd provably made) for coming forward and a judge who was too blind to see that something was off about the whole case. To me, it seems like Starr only went along with that because he thought it'd give him a shot at going after Clinton and he was willing to do anything to get that opportunity.

It is definitely regrettable that Susan McDougal got hurt, but that was the fault of the judge and the bad witnesses. Starr was just doing what he's always done - clown around for publicity.

Re:Ken Starr is a bad example. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47408497)

The worst Ken Starr could ever do is accuse me of having sex.

Worse yet, he would be wrong. (This is Slashdot, after all.)

timothy! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407319)

I wish to stick my fetid cock far up into your rancid man-uterus. What say you?

Stasi (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407329)

Gotta love it. All I need now to win Slashdot bingo is for someone to say "oligarchy"!

Re:Stasi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47408459)

plutocracy!

And smart toilets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407335)

If I remember my Popular Science correctly there are/were plans for toilets that can detect how healthy you are by examining your waste products. Pretty soon only the middle of the Pacific is going to be far enough away from surveillance.

Re:And smart toilets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407479)

When will all this collected data finally benefit us instead of only fuck us? I think we would feel a lot better if we would all get little insurance refunds for achievements like "a week of daily tooth brushing" and a bonus for every 100,000 steps I take, for eating healthy, etc. Once we realize that we can't keep people from knowing these things, we should start thinking about how we might all benefit from this stuff being widely known.

OH NOES! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407353)

I just discovered that the motion sensor on the lights in my house that turns on to welcome me home when it is dark also turns on for burglars!

More over the light switches I installed that allow me to control my house from my cell phone also allow burglars who know my passwords to control those lights! I wish I would have known before I told all those people on the internet what my passwords were for those lights!

OH GOD MY CELL PHONE CAN BE USED TO TRACK MY MOVEMENTS?! They can track when I'm home and when I'm not based on what bluetooth devices they can detect!

END OF THE WORLD IS NIGH!!!
Posted anonymously for obvious reasons...

Re:OH NOES! (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 5 months ago | (#47408031)

GOD MY CELL PHONE CAN BE USED TO TRACK MY MOVEMENTS?!

What we need is a cell phone system that won't do that.

I'll bet that 80 percent of slash dotters don't understand how they work - at all, and that in order to work - at all, yeah, you are pretty much gonna be tracked.

Re:OH NOES! (1)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#47408561)

Sure, the system needs to know where the phone is. What we need is an ethical provider that doesn't hand that information out without a court order and that doesn't log it beyond what is actually necessary for troubleshooting.

Yeah, I know, ethical company.

It seems like cattle want to be slaughtered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407379)

The cows are always very receptive to free food and housing from their masters. Surely they must notice that others suddenly go missing, but as long as they are comfortable today tomorrow seems so far away and unimportant.

Humans claim to be far more intelligent but I don't get a chance to see them prove it very often.

OMG, not my tooth brushing!!! (3, Funny)

Dr. Spork (142693) | about 5 months ago | (#47407423)

This is so scary! If somebody learns every detail of the motions I make when I brush my teeth, they will basically have all the info they need to turn me into a zombie servant of the NSA-corprotocracy! And now they also want to know the humidity in my house!? Goddamn it, didn't our founding fathers say that the moisture content of our residence shall not collected? I'm so outraged! Now excuse me while I upload all my photos, featuring everyone I've ever associated with, to Facebook.

Re:OMG, not my tooth brushing!!! (4, Insightful)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 5 months ago | (#47407509)

... If somebody learns every detail of the motions I make when I brush my teeth...

While your comment sounds like over-the-top sarcasm, keep in mind the time when you go to the dentist and your dental insurance company refuses to pay their portion of the bill because you have not been brushing your teeth properly....

Re:OMG, not my tooth brushing!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407609)

Quiet or you will spook the cattle.

Re:OMG, not my tooth brushing!!! (2)

swillden (191260) | about 5 months ago | (#47407959)

... If somebody learns every detail of the motions I make when I brush my teeth...

While your comment sounds like over-the-top sarcasm, keep in mind the time when you go to the dentist and your dental insurance company refuses to pay their portion of the bill because you have not been brushing your teeth properly....

There are two sides to that. How would you like an option to buy dental insurance that is dramatically cheaper, but which you can only get if you allow your brushing habits to be monitored and corrected? I think there's value in allowing people who choose to manage their risks well to be able to benefit from the reduced costs. For such a policy it would be important that you find out that your brushing is substandard before you go to the dentist, though, not after. It shouldn't be a surprise.

We do need to draw a line that prevents preferential treatment based on characteristics which are not within the control of the individual, including past behaviors, but I see no problem and lots of advantages in enabling the use of pricing to encourage behavior that reduces costs.

Re:OMG, not my tooth brushing!!! (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 5 months ago | (#47408061)

...There are two sides to that. How would you like an option to buy dental insurance that is dramatically cheaper, but which you can only get if you allow your brushing habits to be monitored and corrected? ...

Already being done for car insurance if you allow a monitoring device to plug into your car's computer port.

We do need to draw a line that prevents preferential treatment based on characteristics which are not within the control of the individual, including past behaviors, but I see no problem and lots of advantages in enabling the use of pricing to encourage behavior that reduces costs.

In general (but not complete) agreement. I still have a significant privacy concern regarding how else any data are used by ~third parties affiliated with the data collector~ (as many privacy policies word it).

Re:OMG, not my tooth brushing!!! (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about 5 months ago | (#47408243)

There are two sides to that. How would you like an option to buy dental insurance that is dramatically cheaper, but which you can only get if you allow your brushing habits to be monitored and corrected? I think there's value in allowing people who choose to manage their risks well to be able to benefit from the reduced costs. For such a policy it would be important that you find out that your brushing is substandard before you go to the dentist, though, not after. It shouldn't be a surprise.

I get it! Like auto insurance that gives you a discount because you never drive your car, or never having sex to get an no prenatal services policy.

Just sounds like the creep toward only insuring people for things they'll never need insurance for. Should be really profitable.

We do need to draw a line that prevents preferential treatment based on characteristics which are not within the control of the individual, including past behaviors, but I see no problem and lots of advantages in enabling the use of pricing to encourage behavior that reduces costs.

Here's the litmus test. Would you support wearing a shock collar where you are monitored for everything, and if say, you go over 1500 calories a day,, travel in a "dangerous area", drive over the speed limit, anything the insurance company determines is detrimental to your health - you get zapped. You'll get a 75 percent reduction for participating in the Platinum healthcare system. You, working together with the healthcare system to live a happier and healthier life.

You see, if you submit to this constant monitoring, there has to be an efficient feedback mechanism, otherwise it gets messy. I figure simple shocks should suffice at first. Let's you know you are transgressing, whne you live a shock free existence you are living properly, and saving money.

We can really ensure the safety and health of Americans with some very impressive technology that is just around the corner. Exciting research in the field of allowing paralyzed people to walk again might be able to allow the insurance companies or Government to stop you if you are going to do something that might cost them- and you - money. If we can control their muscles - a pricelessly wonderful thing - there are other possibilities, like stopping you from harming yourself by controlling your muscles. Might even be able to save some money there too.

Imagine this - your refrigerator detects that you are eating too much. too much food has left the fridge, and blood glucose and mass monitors show that you are the culprit. The insurance company is alerted to this weightcrime, and sends signals that activate your movement adjustment device, and cause you to shut the door, walk away, and get back to watching "Here comes Honey Boo-Boo" reruns, or if you haven't done your exercises, makes you hop on that exercise bike.

You know, that sounds paranoid batshit crazy, but is actually quite technologically feasible. We just have to make sure that we can talk people into the monitoring/feedback mechanisms. You might be a candidate for spokesman.

Re: OMG, not my tooth brushing!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47408523)

Instead of a shock collar how about uou become subject market rates for relevant services that are detemined by the aggregation and availability of all that data. My answer is yes.

Re:OMG, not my tooth brushing!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47408525)

There are two sides to that. How would you like an option to buy dental insurance that is the same price as you pay now, but doesn't get an immediate increase like everyone else's just did, but which you can only get if you allow your brushing habits to be monitored and corrected? I think there's value in allowing people who choose to manage their risks well to be able to not get completely fucked over by greedy capitalist fucks.

FTFY.

Or, you know (5, Insightful)

boristdog (133725) | about 5 months ago | (#47407425)

You could just live in a regular house without all that crap.

Re:Or, you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407517)

I think the notion here is that this kind of stuff will be part of the housing code. "for our protection"

Re:Or, you know (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | about 5 months ago | (#47407559)

Exactly this.... and disabling said feature will generate an automatic fine for not keeping the house in proper working order by your association or local city council.

Re:Or, you know (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about 5 months ago | (#47407525)

Good advice, sir. Already implementing that.

Re:Or, you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407565)

A normal house? You must be trying to hide something!

Re:Or, you know (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407673)

How about renters? How about condo owners requiring certain things for the protection of all? If you disable it you are out. How many would like their college years monitored like this?

Re:Or, you know (1)

sudon't (580652) | about 5 months ago | (#47408021)

Soon, you won't be able to. Already, you can't buy a new car without all of that crap, and you can't get Photoshop without connecting yourself to Adobe's servers. TVs are next, and soon enough, everybody selling any kind of appliance will be implementing some kind of so-called "smart" technology, so that shit won't work without an internet connection. Better stock up on appliances now.

Marketing Madness (2)

AkkarAnadyr (164341) | about 5 months ago | (#47407427)

Erm, in what spittle-flecked, buzzword-fueled delusion does *any* soi-disant 'businessperson' imagine that anyone would subject themselves to this? Even the clueless will be ripping this stuff out of their walls pronto once the (obviously irresistible) media sideshows get started.

Re:Marketing Madness (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 5 months ago | (#47408211)

I imagine it's same spittle-flecked, buzzword-fueled delusion of the paranoid maniac who insists we must forgo any technology that might have a downside.

Buy? (2, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | about 5 months ago | (#47407471)

I haven't bought any of this, don't know anyone (personally) who has bought any of this, and don't know why anyone would buy any of this.

I guess, however, some people may have more money than brains. I wish they would put it into Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Rockethub, instead of this crap.

Taxes (3, Interesting)

nospam007 (722110) | about 5 months ago | (#47407497)

"What I cannot understand is how politicians fail to understand what a future Kenneth Starr is going to do with data like this."

A heating tax
A sleeping tax ...
and if you don't pay the sleeping tax more than 178 days in a year, you are living elsewhere and you need to pay a secondary habitation tax.

About NEST (1)

djupedal (584558) | about 5 months ago | (#47407549)

....we've used one now for a while, and it is a great device (hardware), but the learning algos (software) need improvement, I think. Sometimes it learns too well and gets overly aggressive with predicted settings, making it difficult to re-train. Remote access is great.

Re:About NEST (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 5 months ago | (#47407617)

The '00s called and want to know if your Tivo still thinks you're a gay nazi.

Energy Quotas (1)

Tampa Wannabe (3738357) | about 5 months ago | (#47407551)

Eventually, this type of information will be used to crack down on people who are exceeding their "energy quota" as energy becomes increasingly scarce and the carbon credit culture becomes increasingly fascist. People will be carted off for keeping their homes too cool in summer, too hot in winter, or having drafty windows, inadequate insulation, etc. And God forbid we build a nuclear reactor or fix our decrepit energy grid. Let's build more "green" wind farms, instead. Not that I'm bitter!

Re: Energy Quotas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47408539)

In that case pv will set you free.

as its been said, hackers unite. (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 5 months ago | (#47407571)

In the words of stallman and an innumerable mass of others, hackers must unite to make these new tools truly subservient to their owners. FitBit manufactures a vital signs system that has a GIT project designed to make the data yours, not the clouds. WiThings by default wishes to beam your data to a shared hosting server somewhere in europe, but dedicated hackers have worked to show users how that data can be intercepted and secured within the confines of the users home, for the users benefit, and no one elses. Virtually every other application, from home automation to thermal monitoring and control has a hackerspace alternative to the glitzy and well-marketed mainstream platform, especially DVR and home surveillance systems.
its incumbent for us as well as others to realize however that privacy and security from these devices is our soverign responsibility. If you choose home automation then ensure the applications and technologies you see fit to expose yourself and family to are held to an ethical standard of operation and always subservient to you, the user. here are a few options:

Instead of smartthings consider leviton home automation systems and invest a bit of time to learn how to install them. nothing has impressed my guests more than a room with futuristic proximity-based lighting controls.

be vocal about your electrical metering equipment. in my case I wrote a formal complaint to my power company about the digital meter that had been quietly installed at my home. The meter was removed and the old one returned to service.

instead of nest consider thermal controllers similar to johnson and honeywell but at a fraction of the cost on amazon. 1wire sensors, a raspberry pie and a relay board maintain the temperature in my home and garage

I have a camera system for the back yard and garage, but they relay to a PCI board and are stored, encrypted, in 30 day rotations. I transcode 10fps weekly's for occasional review over SSL into webm files.

Stallman is annoying (2)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about 5 months ago | (#47407709)

but increasingly I think he is correct, living in freedom means using free and open software.

Re:as its been said, hackers unite. (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 5 months ago | (#47407987)

Not everyone in the world is like you. I would bet that at least 90% of the world population does not have the tools, skills, time and/or inclination to do as you suggest. Only a very tiny portion of the population are into DIY electronics like you are.

It doesn't have to be this way (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407579)

Really, the only big problem I see here, is who and what is retaining data.

For most of us here, whipping up home brew solutions should be extremely easy infact. Raspberry PIs sell for $30 a piece. Get one for each room, along with some cheap sensors and webcams and wifi dongles, a cheap nas to store data on, and voila, at less than $100 a room you got a home brew smart home that records data locally and can be setup with some sort of master delete switch without a huge amount of effort.

dont care (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47407787)

I'm the biggest privacy nut there is... but figuring out when I'm coming and going? come on... 8am to 5pm I'm at work. Wow! You've totally just invaded my privacy!!!

No, the real issue is what the NSA is doing. They're reading my damned mail, listening to my calls. This story and others like it are just red herrings to make us think we're addressing privacy issues when all we're doing is changing how consumer products operate. I don't care if Google knows more about be so they can better target ads at me. The real problem is the information being collected by the government with the goal of capturing, imprisoning, torturing and even killing their targets.

Once the NSA is no longer an agency, I'll care about Google. Until then, if I'm concerned, I'll just not use their products. How do I "not use" the NSA?

Re:dont care (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#47407865)

No, the real issue is what the NSA is doing. They're reading my damned mail, listening to my calls

Yes, and how are they doing that? Because you're using easily-tapped electronic forms of communication. If you were sending your messages via sealed scroll (presumably with something more modern than wax) you might have greater informational security. And indeed, when corporations or even simply savvy humans want to communicate, that's precisely what they do. The data gets bundled up and handed to a courier, and if security is sufficiently important, they will literally drive it to the airport, get on the plane with it, take it to another country, and hand-deliver it so that you have a reasonable expectation that there has been no eavesdropping.

Or, you know, you could just use encryption. But they'll still gather metadata. But then, they can do that regarding the travel related to your package. There's always going to be some kind of wrapper, even if the only one they get to read is your itinerary, gathered retroactively.

How do I "not use" the NSA?

Move out of the country, become a citizen of another nation (tricky if there's not a baby on the way) and renounce your US citizenship. Then, don't use electronic communications :)

Re:dont care (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 5 months ago | (#47407943)

This'd be one of those false dichotomies they talk about. You can actually care about both of these. I don't want anybody reading my email or listening to my calls. I also want my property wired to the gills with sensors only I can read. If I choose to share that data with a company, I want a big red button marked "Forget everything you know about me.", and I want them audited to prove that they actually do it.

I'm not so naive as to think I'm going to get those things any time soon, but if enough people want them, ask for them, and don't buy stuff from companies that do otherwise, we'll get them eventually.

So this is how it ends.... (2)

GlennC (96879) | about 5 months ago | (#47407829)

The funny thing is that people are not only complicit in having their rights taken away, they're PAYING to do so.

If I had fewer scruples, I'm sure I could find a way to make money off this as well.

You stupid fucking libs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407891)

"fail to understand what a future Kenneth Starr is going to do with data like this"

What kind of idiocy is this?

Ken Starr? KEN FUCKING STARR?

Good grief! We have, TODAY, the fucking IRS actively infringing on the rights and liberties of law abiding actual fucking citizens, directed, and we ALL KNOW THIS, directed by the fucking PRESIDENT, and covered up by the Senate, by the AG, by the complicit media, by basically the entire fucking leftist establishment. We have coverup after coverup of the worst imperial president in the history of the free world being aided and abetted by these same organizations, running guns to Mexican cartels, incompetance at every level, dead ambasaddors, graft and corruption on a never before seen scale, the dismal failure of the ACA and on and on it goes. And you fucking asshole idiot liberal fuckity fucks are calling up the name KEN STARR to in some way warn your reader about the potential for state abuse of power?

ARE YOU ASSHOLES REALLY THIS FUCKING OBTUSE?

GOOD GREIF WE ARE SCREWED.

YOU STUPID STUPID FUCKING JERKS.

ARRRRGHHEEHHGHGHG!

Fuck you all.

The government understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47407955)

"What I cannot understand is how politicians fail to understand what a future Kenneth Starr is going to do with data like this."

They understand the thing, they just don't care at all.

What do these systems cost without monetizing? (1)

swb (14022) | about 5 months ago | (#47407957)

What do these systems cost without the inbuilt subsidies that monetize your information?

I'm presuming they seem attractive to people generally because they seem to be inexpensive. Some of this low cost is due to the ever-decreasing costs of the hardware, both in terms of on-site devices (eg, cameras, sensors) and the back end "cloud services" that enable end-user analytics and web connectivity. But a lot of this cheapness seems to involve subsidies provided by monetizing the information they gather and selling it to third parties.

I'm curious what these services would cost if they were offered without any monetization. Would they be cheap enough to be appealing?

I'm mostly thinking of turnkey solutions, not DIY systems where people cobble together their own collection of hardware and software. These may be cheap in dollar cost outlay but if you factor in the cost of labor, time and expertise are pretty expensive and not available to most people.

Re:What do these systems cost without monetizing? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 5 months ago | (#47408163)

Nest thermostats don't seem the least bit inexpensive to me. Knowing how to actually build one, they seem to cost right about what the hardware and back end infrastructure would run, plus some boutique-level profit. You could make one for a quarter of the cost without the cloud stuff.

Yes, but think of the benefits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47408019)

In return for letting Google and who knows who else monitor every aspect of your life 24 hours a day, you can save yourself the enormous hassle of turning on a fucking light switch.

I call it the Internet of Things I'm Not Going To Buy. Ever.

It's the automation that scares me (2)

Hussman32 (751772) | about 5 months ago | (#47408095)

I'm in my early 40's, and I'm just now seeing the Powers That Be (PTB) do and monitor things that I had only envisioned in my paranoid fantasies in the 80's when I first read '1984.' Throughout the whole time I was always modestly comforted by the 'safety in numbers' idea; if I'm not out shooting people or blatantly planning the overthrow of the government, then the PTB won't have the human resources to go after me and I should be left alone.

But now it's getting scary because the PTB don't have to watch me, the digital monitoring, and more importantly the digital analysis, has made it to where they can keep tabs on everything you do without spending human resources to do it. There is no longer safety in numbers because the algorithms can build the list and it can be executed efficiently.

So what's next? I'm not thrilled with some of my activities prompting which browser ads that I see, but I am bothered that companies could change their pricing strategy based on whether or not I'm motivated enough to change to another vendor when I'm not satisfied. I'm even more bothered that insurance companies know my private health records and could deny me coverage because of them, even if they were obtained with the expressed statements that conversations with your doctor are private.

Crap, I always used to roll my eyes at the Wearers of the Tin Foil Hats, but maybe technology has caught up to their paranoia. It's not going to be long before a fly lands in a printer and someone mistakes my name for someone else and my life is ruined.

So confused (3, Insightful)

Moof123 (1292134) | about 5 months ago | (#47408173)

Call me a curmudgeon, but I just don't see the need for most of this crap. Why even have a light switch that even has the capability to report you back to galactic central?!

My manual light switches (horrors!) work just fine. I don't see it as even a minor burden to flip them on-and off. Heck my 22 month old has managed to figure them out, and actually finds them fun (actual horrors!). Only a couple of them have required a hardware upgrade in the last ~35 years of their operation (how many web-connected things can claim that!).

My thermostat is mostly on a basic automatic cycle to be cool at night and comfy during the day. We don't find it to be a big deal to set it to manual or off when we are gone for a while. We chose to live in a moderate climate where further optimization would net us less than our rounding error every month (heating and cooling are 2% of our gross income).

I just see most of this auto-magic web based crap as an attempt to fix problems that don't exist, or are so minor they aren't worth fixing. In my mental calculus is the likelihood that these things will have bugs, break, and require a lot of tinkering to keep them in a hassle-free operating condition long enough to have a positive ROI.

But again, I am a curmudgeon.

nice tech, dubious products (1)

Sloppy (14984) | about 5 months ago | (#47408181)

IMHO all this tech is basically good, but I should point out that I also consider a large wooden horses to be basically good things, too. (They can be neat works of art, or convenient sources of fire wood.) That doesn't mean I'm saying you should wheel all the ones you find, through your city gates! There are other issues besides the utility value of wooden horses. It's the tech that should be celebrated, not necessarily all the products that use it. Tech and products are two very different things, even if related.

There's a pretty easy way to judge the ads for this stuff: what protocols does the product speak? Do you already have software in your repo that speaks that protocol?

And of course, you don't necessarily have to use someone else's service to get the device to work, right? (I'm not even saying you necessarily shouldn't use their service, but if you have to then the product is almost certainly garbage.)

Metromile vs Automatic (1)

adisakp (705706) | about 5 months ago | (#47408219)

I bought the Automatic for $99.95 [automatic.com] . I had a number of issues with it. When I found out about Metromile for free [metromile.com] I decided to give that a try as well.

There were a number of things I liked about the Automatic app but the Metromile just seemed to work much better (didn't lose trips) and it was free. If you're gonna be tracked while driving, I'd recommend the Metromile device.

Neighbor (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 5 months ago | (#47408385)

A one-time neighbor about ten years ago told me: "Oh, no; I don't want a new TV. They've got cameras in them that can watch what you're doing."

At the time, I smiled politely, while thinking he was a total loon. Nope; just prescient.
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