Is my smart home a private home? : improving the user experience of consent and privacy awareness of internet-connected home devices
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The Internet of Things has hit consumer’s homes by way of products promising more efficiency and ease of use. These products connect with one another and can make a home a “smart home,” with data collection as an underlying component to this intelligence. Consequently, it is important for consumers to understand the privacy and data collection practices of their Internet-connected home devices. The current paradigm of data collection and how Internet-connected services acquire consent has been questioned for its efficacy in the wider world of web applications, prompting consumer concern and news media to point out digital privacy flubs. Such attention can either erode consumer trust or bring about change to increase adoption of smart home technology. Advocates of consumer protection and digital privacy, as well as governmental agencies, have set forth suggestions to address consent and keep users aware of important practices in an increasingly connected world to increase adoption. With more focus on the consumer, the IoT and smart home can become an opportunity for improved user experiences to inform and gain consent of privacy and data collection practices. This report examines the conversations of data privacy in the IoT as they relate to the smart home, how popular providers of smart home technology inform users of privacy practices, and what can be done to improve the user experience of consent and awareness. Ultimately, design teams helping build Internet-connected home devices have the power to affect change by helping the user understand privacy and data collection practices.