What the Tech? See the Scores of Gadgets That May Be Spying on You

If you’re shopping for yourself or someone else this holiday season, you’re going to find some great deals on electronics.

Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and Target are all selling smart home gadgets at their lowest prices ever. There’s a reason some of those gadgets are so cheap: they’re collecting data on users and selling it to other companies for marketing and advertising
purposes.

You could read those privacy and security terms before you buy something but unless you’ve got hours to spend and some knowledge of legalese you probably never look at them.

Mozilla has released its “Privacy Not Included” buyers guide to help shoppers know what they’re giving up before they buy and connect the gadgets to the internet.

“Privacy Not Included” has been around for 3 years but is just now getting noticed by many shoppers. The buyer’s guide is not a gadget review site but more like a privacy review site on electronics. From Rokus to security cameras to vacuum cleaners to connected litterboxes and toys, “Privacy Not Included” is a good place to find out what data you’re giving up and what these companies do with the information.

Amazon Alexa devices get a poor score from Mozilla due to its “always listening” feature and data sharing. Roku scores poorly for its history of sharing information on your viewing habits with advertisers. Ring doorbells and cameras have poor scores in part because law enforcement can gain access to the cameras through the “Neighbors” app according to Mozilla.

Mozilla gave a smart coffee pot the “privacy not included” label since it accesses your phone’s camera and microphone and even a connected litter box earned the label from Mozilla because of its vague privacy policy.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that these connected gadgets collect and share data from its users but until you see the Mozilla report card you don’t realize just how much information is being gathered and shared with other companies.

The Privacy Not Included buyer’s guide breaks down the features that put your data at risk, any history of incidents, and other users can give the product information a score on the “creep-o-meter” to help you learn before you buy.

To see a list of 136 connected gadgets and the information they collect, visit Mozilla’s Privacy Not Included buyer’s guide at www.privacynotincluded.org

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