Who’s watching your pot
Well, folks, let’s get 2019 off to a peculiar start. Or at least a grumpy one. Shortly before the New Year, Nova Scotia’s privacy commissioner released a naughty and nice list about the myriad of things that can invade your privacy - everything from DNA sampling kits to fitness tracking devices to “smart” home appliances that, in addition to making life a little simpler and repairs a lot more complex, can also grant unintended access to your home wifi system. The access comes because the devices often come with a default password that unaware owners never realize or change - default passwords that are available on the internet, and can be back door used to hack into your computer system, exposing everything from banking records to emails to passwords.
A CBC story on the list included an image of a home appliance known as the Appkettle.
What’s an Appkettle, you ask? Well - a kettle you can control through your phone, or by voice commands through a device like Alexa.
Just why someone would need an app-controlled kettle wasn’t clear, so down the internet rabbit hole we went.
The company that makes the Appkettle say it is “Defining a new standard of kettle quality.”
As the company points out on its website, “Appkettle is crafted with premium, beautiful brushed stainless steel finish with manual controls on its base, so you can create the perfect cup of tea without a smartphone. Appkettle is also the world’s first smart kettle to feature double sided glass windows, accommodating for both right and left handed users.”
All well and good: a kettle that you can turn on while you sit on your couch, or that you can turn on and off like any other kettle.
But for $225, do you really need to be able to turn on your kettle from afar through your wifi system? The company argues there’s more to it than that: “With Appkettle, the technology lets you do so much more than just switch it on remotely! You can schedule your kettle to turn on at any time of the day or night, so it’s just boiled when you get up or get home. The temperature control mode lets you pick how hot you heat your water to whilst the favourites setting lets you save your most frequently used temperatures for quick and easy access via your phone.”
At this point, of course, you still have to walk into the kitchen to fill the kettle with water, and then come back to pour the perfectly-heated water into your cup. But hey, more power to anyone who can develop a new product that people will buy.
Who knows what new pressing necessities this brand new year will bring?
(Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to reset any default passwords.)