5 surprising household items that invade your privacy
The Action News Five investigators uncovered five household items that could be collecting and distributing your private information.
(WMC-TV) - From your home office printer to your utility meter, the Action News Five investigators uncovered five household items that could be collecting and distributing your private information.
1.) Color Laser Printers:
Documents you print may have yellow tracking dots you cannot see that reveal the printer's serial number and the date and time of printing. Those dots are used to crack down on counterfeiters, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports the government can also use those dots to track any document you print.
2.) Coupons printed at home:
According to the author of Brandwashed, coupons are often encoded with your personal information in the bar codes of digital coupons. Information that includes your computer's IP address, when you found the coupon, where you redeemed it, and even the search terms you used to find it.
3.) Loyalty Cards:
Store loyalty cards are great for discounts, but how much are you losing with those savings? A lot of retailers use the cards to collect purchasing data on customers, and it's not just so they can inundate you with coupons. We've learned that same data can be used against you by insurance companies.
4.) Electric Smart Meters:
Electric Smart Meters get mixed reviews depending on who you talk to. The Electronic Frontier Foundation warns utility companies could potentially learn when you go on vacation or even when you run the dishwasher or take a bath. In 2010 the U.S. Department of Energy called for restrictions on sharing that information with third parties. And MLGW says there have been no reports of hacking meters in their pilot program.
Finally there may come a day when your TV can actually watch you. Verizon applied for a patent to do just that. So advertisers could track your behavior, and then target their ads. The patent was rejected, but U.S. legislators filed legislation in June to allow consumers to block that kind of technology in the future.
Bottom line is as technology advances, so do risks to your privacy. That's why consumer watch groups are lobbying for more laws.
Monday, June 16 2014 1:56 PM EDT2014-06-16 17:56:46 GMT
Tuesday, June 27 2017 3:27 PM EDT2017-06-27 19:27:39 GMT
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