Think twice before buying gadgets that invade your privacy

Winter holidays are approaching, and you probably already started to make Santa’s list for your family members and friends. Maybe you even started to look out for bargains (after all, Black Friday is just around the corner). Speaking of the one-time a year shopping extravaganza, you should think twice before buying some awesome gadgets you think you need, even if they’re on sale.

Some of them hide some interesting tricks that are not in your benefit in terms of privacy. You may have already heard (or even experienced yourself) the downsides of incredibly good looking and smart gadgets like Alexa or Echo. These are just a few examples of gadgets that happen to look into your home, or make instant pictures without you even knowing. And you have no idea what happens with those pictures and videos and where they end up. Ok, you have a hunch where they’re going and that’s why it’s so concerning.

Here is a random list of some of the most prying gadgets and IoT (Internet of Things) tools you should avoid if you truly care about your privacy:

Toys

Edwin the Duck rubber duckie

Now, this seems a cute and harmless toy! But don’t be fooled because it’s not a normal rubber duckie (especially if you consider its price, e.g. 49 USD) although it looks like one.

With this toy, you can record lullabies and sleeping sounds for your baby. However, this duckie also includes a camera, a microphone and it could also track your location. Plus, it does not have any privacy controls.

So, talented or not, maybe you should consider the traditional way of singing lullabies to your kids: use your voice! It’s just an idea.

Check out other examples of dangerous toys privacy wise.

Game consoles

Microsoft Xbox One

This could be a great gift for any teenager who is crazy about playing console games. But compared to other consoles, Microsoft Xbox tracks your location, requires you to create an account and it’s also believed that the company can share collected data with third parties.

Home Devices

Wink Hubs

This seems such a too-good-to-be-true device that you’ll feel you live in a smart house. Wink Hubs allows you to gather all your smart devices into a single app. This way, you can control your home lights, home alarm and security cameras all at once. Where’s the catch? Wink Hubs has a camera, tracks your location, requires creating an account, has no privacy controls and might also share data with third parties.

Seems like the perfect example of the smarter, the more dangerous type of gadget.

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Handy gadgets

Hiku

This is a tool meant to help you out on your grocery list. Here is how it works: you connect the Hiku to your phone and basically tell it out loud what you want to appear on your shopping list that you save on your phone. Because simply writing with your hands on the Notes feature from your phone is just too much. The truth is it does more, such as scanning barcodes when it connects to online supermarkets.

Nevertheless, Hiku has a camera and a microphone, can track location and you can’t disable privacy controls.

Unfortunately, these are just a few examples because there are many other gadgets and devices that just seem to help us out a lot, when in fact, they are just some form of surveillance tool. Be wary on privacy controls and features whenever you consider buying a smart tool.

Even fitness apps have some privacy risks.

With the risk of being considered old-fashioned, don’t just fall into the trap of simply having a gadget because everyone else does, because it’s cool or in style. Just ponder on how much you need that gadget and on how much are you willing to compromise in terms of your own or your family’s privacy.

Here are some more suggestions of gadgets you should avoid provided by Mozilla.

Don’t forget to secure your online privacy

Meanwhile, if you truly want to secure your online privacy and browse without the risk of being tracked, use CyberGhost VPN. Our security app hides your IP, encrypts all your online conversations and you can have a pleasant online experience while staying anonymous.

Download CyberGhost VPN for a safe and private web surfing!

About the author

Dana Vioreanu
Dana Vioreanu

Even though her degree is in Sociology, which technically has nothing to do with writing, all her previous jobs implied working for websites, taking care of content and writing articles.
By the way, if you’re interested in studying abroad, feel free to ask her a few pointers, because for about two years and a half, she learned almost everything there is to know about international studies.

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