23 03 2001
Gadgets Collect Data
by World-Information.Org

++ Electronic Gadgets Threaten Consumer Privacy ++

“Popular electronic gadgets with links to the Internet pose a mounting threat to consumer privacy”, said Richard Smith, chief technology officer for the Privacy Foundation, a Denver-based, nonprofit advocacy group. Recently a variety of gadgets have come to market that collect consumer data that are directly fed back to corporate marketing systems. Such everyday “spy” devices include fitness monitors that track heart rates and display exercise related advertising, digital music players that record listening habits and wristwatches and wireless surveillance cameras, as well as location tracking mobile phones and other monitoring tools.

As example of such potentially invasive electronic gadgets, Smith singled out SportBrain, an exercise-monitoring device that can be worn on a person’s belt, storing data that can later be transmitted to the company’s web site. The main motivation for developing such devices he theorizes may be explained by the idea of direct marketing, which leads companies to illicitly collect unprecedented amounts of data on consumer behavior. Smith sees data-collecting, privacy-invading devices pushing their way into every walk of daily life. “What concerns me is how much surveillance companies are building into everyday devices”, he said. “Most people don’t understand how far this has already gone.”

Source: http://world-information.org/wio/readme/992021819