Who’s watch­ing your pot?

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial -

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.)

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