A new Workgroup aims to improve smart home data privacy
Smart devices are everywhere these days. Besides the obvious ones, like Amazon's Alexa, most TVs or robot vacuums, smart is being integrated into many different devices and products. There are smart pet and baby cameras, door bells, thermostats, refrigerators, microwaves, and even smart toasters.
All of these devices promise to deliver more than traditional devices, usually through the collection of data, or the use of data.
While there are arguments for and against smart devices, what is clear is that most of these are quite data hungry. Privacy is a major problem, especially when it comes to sensitive areas like the own home. No one wants to have their photo taken by their robot vacuum while sitting on the toilet and then shared online, right?
Most smart device owners do not know much about the data that their smart devices collect, where it is transferred to, how it is processed, and used.
The Data Privacy Working Group is a new initiative by the organization that is behind Matter, the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), to develop a privacy certification for smart home devices. Matter is a smart home interoperability standard that is developed by companies such as Samsung, Google, Apple and Amazon.
The main advantage of Matter is that it is manufacturer--independent. If a smart home device supports Matter, it can be integrated into an existing setup, even if the other products are from different manufacturers.
The Privacy initiative for smart devices
In the announcement, the group notes that it is more important than ever to protect user rights in a world that is becoming more and more dependent on smart devices.
Solving privacy is "imperative to the overall health of the IoT industry", according to the group. It notes: "the Data Privacy Working Group aims to develop a certification program that will certify the data privacy of IoT devices and related services in conformance with a new Alliance Data Privacy specification".
The group wants to strengthen transparency, best practices and verification processes to help consumers build trust. Customers will better understand "what data is being collected, how it is used, and if it complies with existing privacy requirements" according to the group's announcement.
The alliance admits that its new privacy initiative can only succeed if regulators and companies that produce smart devices or the tech for these devices will come onboard.
Will it matter?
Matter is backed by major tech companies, and any initiative that is coming from the Connectivity Standards Alliance has a lot of weight behind it already. It remains to be seen if all members of the Alliance are onboard with the new privacy working group.
Still, even if all members are supporting the initiative, it still remains to be seen how other manufacturers will react to the proposition and how it will look like in the end.
If a standard is passed and used by the majority of manufacturers, it could indeed be beneficial to home users who buy smart devices.Advertisement