Introduction

Is Your Coffee Maker Watching You?

Shop Smart and Shop Safe

Is Your Coffee Maker Watching You?

Shop Smart and Shop Safe

“Your coffee machine is studying your every move,” is the headline that caught my attention in my daily Stacked Marketer newsletter. It’s always full of interesting marketing updates but this one took me by surprise. The article is based on a Mozilla “privacy-first product guide” that will make your hair stand on end, even if you’ve already seen the Netflix documentary, The Social Dilemma.

With regard to being watched, a Hamilton Beach Smart Coffee Maker now comes with the ability for you to tell Alexa to make you coffee and, voila! It turns on and makes it for you. I’m sure many people will love this feature. But what’s interesting about this product is that, as Mozilla indicates, the company doesn’t clarify in their privacy policy if users can delete their data. In fact, it they say it’s hard to even find the company’s privacy policy with regard to any data so. For that reason, it doesn’t meet Mozilla’s “Minimum Security Standards” and is rated “Privacy Not Included.”

Some of you may be shrugging and saying, who cares? Why is Janet even blogging about a “smart” coffee-maker? Well, I bring this up to make a point, which I’ve made before, which is that your data – information about you – is being accumulated and used. If you’re not paying for a cool new tech feature, such as the ability to ask Alexa to make you coffee – then your information, your data, is the price for this new tech.

What becomes interesting for me is that companies have information about your ownership or use of a certain product – and there’s now the “big data” capability to combine this one data point with so many other data points, to create a larger 3D version of you. Some of this you may be happy about – as it will provide you with a better shopping experience; for example, Google can serve up ads for you of products and services that you might want. But some of it you may not be so happy about.

As a marketer, I want to be sure you know that other marketers are using your information to try to give you the best buying experience possible. And, your information is being shared by many companies. If you’d like to see some of the companies that have not provided privacy guidelines to protect you (yet), take a look at the Mozilla list. It’s pretty interesting, if only because of the broad range of products listed. And don’t worry – there are minimal risks here and you can opt out of sharing your data in many cases. It’s just important to know what’s out there – how it can be used – and what you can do about it – as an individual and as a business.

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