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Assessing the risks and rewards of connectivity

Consumer Reports investigates the privacy threat from digital devices that collect and share personal data online

Published: April 30, 2015 06:00 AM

Marta L. Tellado

This month we bring you an in-depth look at the ­Internet of Things and how it is changing our lives. The world is rapidly becoming a place where the devices people rely on every day are connected to a network that freely exchanges information. That can offer great convenience but also raises fundamental questions about transparency and privacy.

Many of these devices are versions of familiar products like televisions and home security systems, which use the Internet to learn and respond to our habits and preferences. This connectivity can be beneficial, at times even money-saving. Think about the thermostat that turns on your air conditioning shortly before you come home. But all this convenience comes with trade-offs, as information about your habits can be sent to servers that may share that information with marketers, or worse, that can be accessed by digital thieves.

At Consumer Reports, we believe in a transparent market­place. That means making sure you know up front how this data is going to be used. You may decide the benefits of these products or services outweigh the risks, but in order to do that, you have to know the full story. We take very seriously the trust you place in us to help you make an informed choice.

—Marta L. Tellado, President and CEO

Editor's Note:

This article also appeared in the June 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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