There is a gadget for just about everything these days. Whether you want to make your home smarter, track your fitness, or enjoy seamless entertainment, some device out there is sure to do the trick. Unfortunately, many of today’s smart gadgets are lacking when it comes to privacy.
That’s why the Mozilla Foundation compiles an annual list called “Privacy Not Included.”
The buyer’s guide rounds up the worst gadgets based on their lack of privacy. It’s a quick and simple way to decide if the perks of the latest device on your wish list are worth the privacy tradeoff.
Big Tech Woes
The foundation ranks the devices on a scale of “not creepy” to “very creepy” depending on how much they violate your privacy. A few select devices receive the “super creepy” label. Unsurprisingly, many devices from Facebook and Amazon fall into that category.
The latter’s Halo fitness tracker and Ring security cameras were among the worst offenders. Only the Kindle and Echo Buds met Mozilla’s acceptable privacy standards.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s Portal and Oculus Quest 2 VR headset were also top-tier creepy. Unlike Amazon, Facebook didn’t have any products that met Mozilla’s standards. That means the company’s hardware probably isn’t a great choice if you value your privacy. Not that anyone trusts Facebook anyway.
Google generally fared better than its Big Tech competitors. Its lineup of Nest Home smart speakers, the Nest thermostat, and Nest security cams was ranked in the “very creepy” category. That isn’t really surprising. Although Google does collect a ton of data from its users, it seems to do a better job of protecting their privacy—at least Mozilla thinks so.
Finally, Apple did better than all three of the aforementioned companies. A few of its devices, including the Apple Watch 6, AirPods, and the Homepod landed in the “a little creepy” category. However, thanks to the brand’s recent focus on privacy, it was spared for the most part.
Opposite Ends of the Spectrum
Outside of the Big Tech world, there are plenty of unproblematic devices to love. For instance, the Nintendo Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X all dodged the creepy tag. Gamers should be happy about that as they prepare for a new generation of console play.
Meanwhile, gadgets from smaller manufacturers like Withings, Garmin, and Eufy fared better than those from large companies.
It’s worth mentioning that Roku’s lineup of streaming equipment was among the worst of the worst. That isn’t surprising since Roku devices are packed with ads.
Another potentially problematic category of gadgets includes smart workout equipment and high-tech pet gadgets. These are two things that you can probably live without the smart version of and definitely should if you value your privacy.
To see Mozilla’s full Privacy Not Included guide ahead of the 2020 holiday shopping season, check out the foundation’s website.