Control & Automation

Smart Homes Tied to Domestic Abuse: ‘Going Crazy’

Exes are remotely controlling smart thermostats, lights, cameras, other smart-home devices to 'watch and listen' and 'scare or show power,' NYT reports.

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5 Comments
Posted by Ernie G on June 25, 2018

If you have internet, you have neither privacy nor security. Period. It’s worse than before: the more you use IoT devices, the more true it is. We can all agree this is not news, but it just keeps getting worse and worse.

Oh, sure, everybody can learn to be their own network specialist. They can then set up their equipment and choose their passwords without disclosing them to anyone. This is extremely unlikely to catch on, though, isn’t it? When you, the installer, set up a system for a person, you ask them what passwords they want to use, and you write them down. For reference. Well, just how secure are you? How secure is your junior installer, whom you’ve given the task of interviewing the client to obtain this information? When followup is needed, can you actually offer them service without knowing their passwords?

The abuse described in this article comes from initial trust that has gone sour. Hey, we’re just people, after all. This happens. But this really can be hugely more invasive than we’ve thought. How many people who did not set up the equipment themselves will realize they need to change all the passwords? Or will be willing to accept that not only has the spouse moved out, but the “security” cameras may have to go, too?

At this moment, I can look at the cameras of several restaurants. That’s a great sales tool. The restaurant owners trust me and have no problem with that. But I can also look in on a family room and a couple of children’s bedrooms. That family’s security rests with me. They are not in charge of their own security and privacy.

Multiply this by thousands, perhaps millions, of customers. Privacy. What’s that? Security. What’s that? What we call privacy and security are the passively benevolent result of each of us being too uninteresting for someone to pursue. When a person becomes a pursuer and stops being benevolent… nobody is ready for that.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on June 25, 2018

Ernie, I agree this can get really ugly. It is true that most of the self-installers are male, and most perpetrators of domestic abuse are male. It’s quite possible, too, that the Internet account is under the male’s name and that the partner doesn’t have the credentials. “Sorry, maam, you’re not on the list. We can’t help you.” Nightmare on top of nightmare.

Posted by sjm mycloudbusters.com on June 26, 2018

Let’s not start vilifying SMART technology and the IoT in this forum and create a jump on the #metoo bandwagon. To Ernie’s point and beyond. Domestic spying and abuse have been going on since the beginning of time. And in today’s environment lawyers and the media are dreaming up ways to create any legal havoc and FUD over any IoT new device. Any SMART phone or landline is easily hackable. Alexa is getting a terrible reputation. But even with everything balanced against it,Alexa is still selling a rate of millions per month. So the only real way to isolate one’s self is to lock the door, shut down the power to the home and unplug all the phones.

There is enough of this ugliness and anger playing out in the media. Are we not here to promote technology?  We all seem to bear this willing suspension and pious position of our privacy, yet we flip on it in every application that requests the release of all personal rights in the T’s & C’s to use their products for free.

Is this article aimed to be an attack on ‘men’ using technology? Should they have to have some level of a special permit because they were born male? Domestic abuse will happen, and yes 95+% of the time it will be male-driven. But the only blame that can be derived from that is on mother nature. You cannot blame technology on anything. It is the user.

Posted by HBlaugh on July 2, 2018

Customer calls saying his original Unity Systems Home Manager touch screen was blank but still responsive to touch commands.  Arrived at site and asked how long the touch screen had been blank. “Oh, about 4 years.”  I was shocked and asked how he was able to set temperatures and the alarm. “I have photographic memory.”  Obvious next question, “Why are you fixing it now?”  Customer, “I’m selling the house after a divorce.”  No further questions but can assume there were some kind of “control issues”. Fixed it for the next owner.  (Yes, still support a few 25+ year old Home Managers.)

Posted by Julie Jacobson on July 2, 2018

Those Unity Systems!! Wow. Did you just replace the CRT?

5 Comments
Posted by Julie Jacobson on July 2, 2018

Those Unity Systems!! Wow. Did you just replace the CRT?

Posted by HBlaugh on July 2, 2018

Customer calls saying his original Unity Systems Home Manager touch screen was blank but still responsive to touch commands.  Arrived at site and asked how long the touch screen had been blank. “Oh, about 4 years.”  I was shocked and asked how he was able to set temperatures and the alarm. “I have photographic memory.”  Obvious next question, “Why are you fixing it now?”  Customer, “I’m selling the house after a divorce.”  No further questions but can assume there were some kind of “control issues”. Fixed it for the next owner.  (Yes, still support a few 25+ year old Home Managers.)

Posted by sjm mycloudbusters.com on June 26, 2018

Let’s not start vilifying SMART technology and the IoT in this forum and create a jump on the #metoo bandwagon. To Ernie’s point and beyond. Domestic spying and abuse have been going on since the beginning of time. And in today’s environment lawyers and the media are dreaming up ways to create any legal havoc and FUD over any IoT new device. Any SMART phone or landline is easily hackable. Alexa is getting a terrible reputation. But even with everything balanced against it,Alexa is still selling a rate of millions per month. So the only real way to isolate one’s self is to lock the door, shut down the power to the home and unplug all the phones.

There is enough of this ugliness and anger playing out in the media. Are we not here to promote technology?  We all seem to bear this willing suspension and pious position of our privacy, yet we flip on it in every application that requests the release of all personal rights in the T’s & C’s to use their products for free.

Is this article aimed to be an attack on ‘men’ using technology? Should they have to have some level of a special permit because they were born male? Domestic abuse will happen, and yes 95+% of the time it will be male-driven. But the only blame that can be derived from that is on mother nature. You cannot blame technology on anything. It is the user.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on June 25, 2018

Ernie, I agree this can get really ugly. It is true that most of the self-installers are male, and most perpetrators of domestic abuse are male. It’s quite possible, too, that the Internet account is under the male’s name and that the partner doesn’t have the credentials. “Sorry, maam, you’re not on the list. We can’t help you.” Nightmare on top of nightmare.

Posted by Ernie G on June 25, 2018

If you have internet, you have neither privacy nor security. Period. It’s worse than before: the more you use IoT devices, the more true it is. We can all agree this is not news, but it just keeps getting worse and worse.

Oh, sure, everybody can learn to be their own network specialist. They can then set up their equipment and choose their passwords without disclosing them to anyone. This is extremely unlikely to catch on, though, isn’t it? When you, the installer, set up a system for a person, you ask them what passwords they want to use, and you write them down. For reference. Well, just how secure are you? How secure is your junior installer, whom you’ve given the task of interviewing the client to obtain this information? When followup is needed, can you actually offer them service without knowing their passwords?

The abuse described in this article comes from initial trust that has gone sour. Hey, we’re just people, after all. This happens. But this really can be hugely more invasive than we’ve thought. How many people who did not set up the equipment themselves will realize they need to change all the passwords? Or will be willing to accept that not only has the spouse moved out, but the “security” cameras may have to go, too?

At this moment, I can look at the cameras of several restaurants. That’s a great sales tool. The restaurant owners trust me and have no problem with that. But I can also look in on a family room and a couple of children’s bedrooms. That family’s security rests with me. They are not in charge of their own security and privacy.

Multiply this by thousands, perhaps millions, of customers. Privacy. What’s that? Security. What’s that? What we call privacy and security are the passively benevolent result of each of us being too uninteresting for someone to pursue. When a person becomes a pursuer and stops being benevolent… nobody is ready for that.


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