Hands off my IoT

in Home Automation7 months ago


For quite some time now, I have been getting emails from my power company. They keep promising me that I can get a free smart thermostat if I sign up for some special program they are running.

I've never really paid too much attention to the fine print, but I have always been hesitant to jump on board due to the extra requirements. We should all know there is no such thing as a free lunch and anything that seems to be good to be true either is or will be eventually.

I have to admit, I am not a huge IoT type of person to begin with. I have a few smart devices in my house, but they are all on a separate wireless network that is vLan'ed out from the rest of my network.

I don't have a Google Home or an Alexa due to my concerns with privacy issues and the fact that the device would clearly be listening (although they claim it isn't).

While I appreciate the convivence of smart devices, my overwhelming paranoia always wins out.

That being said, I've been wanting a smart thermostat for a while. It would be nice to have the ability to turn the A/C on when we are heading home from a camping trip so the house is nice and cool for us when we get home.

The biggest issue I have run into is the fact that I don't have all the required wiring to install a smart thermostat.

Thankfully, I never let my desire for a smart thermostat cloud my judgement. Unfortunately, as we can see from this article many people in Colorado were not quite so lucky.

In case you don't feel like following the link, the basic idea is these people singed up for a program with a Colorado power company. In return they got a free thermostat. As part of the deal, the power company reserves the right to adjust the thermostat.

Long story short, Colorado was in the middle of a heat wave, many people were attempting to adjust their thermostats accordingly only to find out that the power company had locked them down and locked them out.

This is pretty much the exact thing that I was worried about when I did my brief research into the free thermostat program provided by my power company. Apparently in the past, customers have been able to override the lock, but in this case, that was not possible.

I don't really like the idea of not having full control over my devices. I understand sometimes you have to make some sacrifices for increased convenience, but security is one of those things that I am just not willing to sacrifice.

What do you think?


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In Africa we don't worry about this stuff as just having power would be nice lol. What you are saying makes perfect sense as no one but you should have the control over that device.

Yeah, good point! They already have full control over your house!

I've had a Nest thermostat for years and it's generally okay. I bought that direct from Google. I have heard of power companies supplying them and retaining some control so they could reduce the load on their networks when they needed to. I am not so against that as long as it is made clear to users. Of course many people will not read the documentation. Of course some people will try to make it political, but isn't it capitalist companies just trying to make a profit?

I know a lot of people worry about the 'listening devices', but are the corporations really that interested in what we say? People can monitor the traffic and assess when they actually transmit stuff. I have had such devices from Amazon and Google, but not used them much. Of course our phones can also be listening to us, but people seem happy to carry those around.

just trying to make a profit

Isn't that political?

I just don't like the idea of them having control. If I get hot and want to pay more to crank my A/C down, that's my business. I guarantee my 98% efficient unit is still using less power than most other people. I realize my phone is most likely listening. I figure why increase the vectors though.

I saw this piece of news, it cropped up on one of my FB group.

It's pretty scary when you lose control over your device at home, just think what else they could do.

It's similar to an incident a few years ago in Hong Kong during the Handover day which is like the National day celebrations. The China leader was due in HK for that. Some people flew their drones over the ceremony venue then found they lost control of their drone. Guess where the drones were made ....

It's scary how much control we think we have, but we really don't. I think it was interesting that one of the comments in the article tried to tie this to crypto. CBDCs maybe, but not crypto as a whole. Especially the decentralized chains.

Oh my! Honestly,when I saw you mentioned about some free gift from a company, I thought there are no free stuffs in this world. Atleast not from a company - a business entity. They will always find a way to get in! If it were a free gift, then why should they tamper with it when a situation seems to not favour them.

Good one people read that T&Cs, I believe. Most people on this planet are guilty on not even reading the words of Terms and conditions before signing off. And in those areas, unscrupulous entities hide loopholes that favour them!

Yeah I think the company was probably pretty clear about what you were getting into but likely most people didn't even read it.

They know most wont read it. But they write it anyways to exonerate themselves incase of legal action.

Same reason I'm resisting having a SMART meter.