If you need a little help figuring out how to lock down your smart home devices (or those you’re considering purchasing), Mozilla is here to help. I recommend spending some time scanning through its “Privacy Not Included” list and bookmarking the pages for any devices you own. Not only does the site round up all the critical privacy information for your own gadgets, it also gives you an idea of which devices might feel a little creepy to purchase as holiday gifts.
In other words, you might not want to buy your siblings a Facebook Portal this year. That’s not to say it’s a bad device—just that it earns top honours for being the creepiest device on Mozilla’s list, as voted by the site’s visitors. Joining it are the Ring Indoor Cam, Amazon’s Echo Show, the Google Home (surprising, given that it’s a speaker without a camera), and the Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera—to name a few.
What I like most about Mozilla’s list is that it’s not just a popularity contest. In fact, four of the five devices I just mentioned get a mark from Mozilla for meeting its “minimum security standards,” even though its users find them incredibly creepy to use:
I also love that you can click through any product on Mozilla’s list to see a full breakdown of which parts of Mozilla’s “minimum security standards” the device does or does not meet (and why). You also get a small information box that tells you how the device “snoops” on you (if at all), as well as a fairly detailed breakdown of how a particular device (and parent company) handles various privacy-related concerns:
Mozilla also gives you direct links to the company’s privacy pages and settings (where applicable), a list of all the different ways you can contact the company if you have an issue, and a summary of the device’s creepiness in an easy-to-decipher fashion.
While my understanding is that Mozilla updates this list of devices once a year or so, I think it’s absolutely worth bookmarking the various profile pages for devices you own, might buy, or have seen your technologically challenged loved ones attempt to set up. This way, you’ll have everything you need to stay as safe and secure as possible even if you’re interested in a gadget that most other people find creepy. And for those who don’t know the first thing about privacy, and what it means for the smart device they just picked up, Mozilla’s all-in-one advice is incredibly useful—if not eye-opening.