During the advancement of mankind, we have undergone a relationship with our government where we trade our privacy for security. This has been going on for a long time but most people don’t like to acknowledge it. We are constantly trying to figure out how to balance our right to privacy with our personal security. Smart homes add a new layer to this problem. We surround ourselves with cameras and people are using them to spy on us. This isn’t a conspiracy theory, this is a fact!
Security Cameras Come About
In the 1980s and 90s, businesses started putting up security cameras everywhere. This makes sense because it helps with shoplifting and employee theft. This was standard practice for businesses for the next 20 years. Everyone knew that if you were in public you were probably on camera.
Home security systems at the time usually consisted of motion detectors and door/window sensors. Some wealthier people had closed-circuit T.V. cameras and recorders in their houses. The average person didn’t really think that this was necessary or cost-effective. Most people didn’t like the idea of being filmed in their own house either.
The webcam came out in 1991 but the first models didn’t work very well. By the early 2000s, webcams were becoming a common addition for laptops and desktop computers. This is when people started to willingly invite the world into their houses with a camera.
Smart Phones Changed Everything
While webcams were becoming more popular in the 2000s, they were still hard to use and didn’t have a great picture. The average person still didn’t use one on a daily basis. This all changed in 2007 when the smartphone came out. Since then, almost every person walks around with a personal webcam in their pocket. This changes how the average person thinks about cameras. We no longer see them as an invasion of privacy but a tool to be used for our enjoyment. Without smartphones, smart homes obviously would not exist.
Technology Paves The Way For Smart Homes
The reason that I bring up the progression of technology is that it shows how we have changed as a society. If you told someone in the 70s that you were going to put cameras and recording devices in their house they would have called you a communist and kicked you out. Now, we spend billions each year to have these devices put in our homes. We used to think of our homes as sanctuaries. Places where we could get away from prying eyes and didn’t have to worry about having our privacy invaded. All of that has gone out the window now.
Think About How Much Surveillance Goes Into A Smart Home
The average American Home probably has 5 cameras and a smart box in it now. This is scary enough but think about a smart home. All of your electronic devices are connected by a central computer which is connected to the internet. There are now cameras on doorbells, walls, refrigerators, washing machines, T.V.s, computers, phones and more. Not to mention the little Google or Alexa devices placed throughout the house. This means that every square inch of a smart home records your voice, image or both.
If someone could hack into your home then they could watch and listen to everything you do. They would know how often you wash clothes, dishes or how much you cook. They would even know when you work, play or take a bath. If they wanted to they could find out what kind of laundry soap you use or what you like to eat. We already know that technology companies love to keep track of the things that we like to sell us stuff. This is bad enough because of social media but now they could have access to our entire lives!
We are all programmed by now to just accept agreements without reading them. We give apps permissions to things that we don’t realize almost every time that we install one. Do you think that these companies won’t do the same thing with smart homes? You may have clicked a “terms and conditions” page agreeing to allow them to record your laundry habits. Or keep track of which T.V. shows you watch. I can’t even begin to cover the number of reasons that people and companies would want to spy on us. Not to mention other countries and terrorist groups. The amount of information that people could get on us through a Smart Home is scary!
They Tell Us Smart Homes Are Safe
The companies that make all of this “smart technology” tell us that we have nothing to worry about. They tell us that these technologies are to help us, not to hurt us. Should we really believe these technology companies after they consistently break our trust? These companies care about one thing and that’s how to separate you from your money. We already know that the Chinese were using smart T.V.s to spy on people. Alexa has been caught recording people. These are only these incidents that we know about.
Even if the companies that make this technology are honest, what about everyone else. The government already wants access to our doorbell cams. What’s next? Then there are hackers. All it takes is for you to click on the wrong email link and hackers can have access to your computer and everything that it’s connected to. This is why a lot of us keep the little camera on our laptops covered up. I don’t like the thought of someone watching me through my own computer, no matter how small the chance is of it actually happening.
Maybe I Am Just Old Fashioned
Maybe I am just old fashioned but I don’t like the idea of my house recording everything that I do. I understand that this technology is here whether I like it or not but that doesn’t make me feel any better. We have given away the one place that we had where we didn’t have to worry about other people, our homes. I may be a little paranoid, but if you think that people won’t use this technology against you then you haven’t been paying attention. They might use it for little things like advertising or they could use it to keep track of our every move and spy on us.
Our cell phones keep track of everywhere we go already with G.P.S. We have now given away every aspect of our privacy in the name of security. People never even consider the trade-off. We buy things because commercials tell us to. We want to feel like we are part of the group so we follow everyone else. While we are keeping up with the Jones’ we are slowly giving away our freedoms.
To answer the question asked by this post; are smart homes watching you? The answer is yes. Of course, they are. That’s what they are programmed to do. The real question is who is watching them. How much of our freedom are we willing to sacrifice for our safety?