Monday, June 21, 2021

I want to opt-out of all of it


June 21, 2021

During the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, we got hooked on YouTube. We joke that you can find out how to do just about anything because someone has posted a video. We stick mostly to cooking, gardening, homesteading, and automotive channels, but there's variety when we want it. One of the gardening/cooking channels posted a quirky little piece about reports of "smart" thermostats in Texas turning up or down on their own. 

I scoffed, too, but wait. 

Being curious, because this channel is a bit off-beat and the woman creating the content hears a different drummer, I restored to asking Google this morning. Guess what? The story seems to have legs. 

True or not, there's a big lesson, or several, here. 

The jist of the story is that some consumers in Texas may have enrolled into a "smart saver" program when they enrolled in a sweepstakes. How's this for a long link?

Check it out fast because I expect it to be pulled. Here's another one -

If your first question is how can anyone remotely reset a thermostat, let me say that the facility I work in has programable Honeywell thermostats that I can adjust with my smartphone. There's an app. Of course, there's an app. More than one.  I'm linked in to the security camera system, too. It's a different app. 

It wouldn't take much for a large company to strike a deal with any of the thermostat manufacturers to obtain override permission. A few clicks on a computer or phone, and you're going to get hot. Or cold. 

If you have some Amazon devices, it could be even worse. Amazon has/is using its Ring and other devices to create something called Amazon Sidewalk. This new "feature" creates a low bandwidth network using smart home devices and can piggyback on your neighbor's wi-fi if necessary. And you are someone's neighbor, too. Don't forget that. 

I'm not sure my very mercenary cable internet provider is going to like this. Could this mean MY Internet gets cut off because my neighbor is watching porn? I wouldn't like that much.

And here's another thing. My Kindle Fire HAS been acting wonky lately. It's gotten very slow and it acts a bit confused. I checked, and it does "see" a lot of networks around me that are out of range. But what if they are suddenly boosted and become in range? 

Does my cellular carrier, Sprint-now-T-Mobile, do something like this? 

I find this very worrisome. I want to opt-out of all of it. 

Just remember these points:

1. Read the small print.
2. Government is not in place to be your friend. 
3. If a corporation offers you something, it's not really to your benefit. 
4. Rule changes are rarely in your favor. Opt out. 

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