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The study and the resulting counselor According to Mozilla, they have two goals: to help buyers give away items that protect the privacy of their loved ones, and to encourage companies to place more value on data protection. To this end, researchers have invested around 950 hours in checking 151 products from six categories.
If you scroll through the list, you can either filter directly for products with a warning (“Privacy not included”) or you can display all the articles examined. These have been sorted by Mozilla from “Not Creepy” (harmless) to “Very Creepy” (very questionable).
For many, it should be worth taking a look at the questionable products, as some of them are real box office hits in Christmas business or on Black Friday. At the same time, the extensive data protection provisions are often formulated in a very complicated manner and difficult to oversee. Mozilla provides a short summary of which data is collected, how it is (may) be processed and also whether and for what purpose data is sold to third parties. The focus was on the following questions:
- Does the product have a camera, microphone, or geolocation that you could spy on?
- Does the product use artificial intelligence and if so, how?
- What data does the device collect and how does the company use it?
- Has the company excelled in protecting user data in the past?
For the purposes of classification, however, it should be mentioned that Mozilla is also a company with its own products and interests. In addition, smart gadgets are primarily smart because they collect data and learn from it. For example, a smartwatch would just be a digital watch without these functions. However, it remains relevant whether the data collected go beyond the actual product purpose and whether they are used for advertising purposes and sold to third parties, for example.
A total of 46 products with particularly problematic data protection conditions were noticed. With 151 products tested, that’s almost 30 percent. The lead researcher of the Mozilla study says: “Smart training devices are particularly problematic. Consumers: inside buy equipment such as a peloton bike or a Nordic track treadmill in order to exercise privately in their own four walls. Unfortunately, there is little privacy with these products, ”said Caltrider.
The culprits also included Facebook Portal, Amazon Echo Dot (for children) and Onyx Boox e-reader. Dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble, smart home devices from Google, a large number of Amazon products, Skype, but also the Huawei Freebuds Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 also received a “very creepy” rating.
It should come as little surprise that the products of tech giants Facebook, Google and Amazon in particular come off badly in the study. For many people, the usefulness of these products suggests potential privacy concerns. But if you are already unsure and find the data protection regulations of the manufacturers too complicated, you should take a look at the guide. Adults, in particular, who give children technical products that have been proven to collect and evaluate data should inform themselves carefully before making a purchase.
But the Mozilla guide is not all about criticism. 22 products have been given the “Best Of” rating for exceptional data protection and security regulations. Including many Apple products. The US company is “the most trustworthy of the large technology companies because it does not pass on or sell your data.”
Here are some of the best-of products from the study at a glance:
As far as consoles are concerned, the Nintendo Switch does better than the new Xbox generation that was also tested. If you need more help with Black Friday and buying Christmas gifts, you can take a look at our guides:
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