Baby, Can You See Me Now?

December 17, 2015

I’ve been researching baby monitors for a little while now.

Like most (if not all) products to do with babies, there is no shortage of them; mostly to do with different levels of technology. The ones that really surprised me are the ones put out by companies like Foscam and Nest. These are video baby monitors with WiFi built into them, so if the parent is away from the house where baby is, you can still see him through the WiFi connection hooked up to the video monitor. I first read about the issues resulting from these devices being hacked in Mark Goodman's book Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable And What We Can Do About It.

I totally see how this is cool, and how so many people are intoxicated by the new technology. I read some reviews on this product from people who were just learning that this even existed and the response echoes repeatedly, oh that’s so cool. It’s always the “cool factor.” I don’t see it having much to do with safety factors. After all, baby monitors, as electronic devices, haven’t existed for most of civilization, and when they did come around, they just monitored audio. Not anymore. Now, for parents that are sensitive to the latest and "greatest" gadgets, we have video monitoring devices that can be employed wherever in the world you may be, as long as you have an internet connection.

I can’t help but wonder, if I can tap into this video feed wherever I am, what’s to stop someone else from doing the same thing? The answer? Not much. It’s just a wifi connection. While it certainly has it's security measures in place, if someone wants to hack it, they’ll find a way.

I think we’ll be opting for the old-fashioned radio frequency-based monitor. How easy are those to hack? Some crazy bastard would have to be standing out in the front yard. They don’t have the wifi capabilities that the new fancy ones do. They work right within the confines of your house/property.

While baby monitors are not completely up the road of “clearing your tracks,” it’s important to note that this is Big Brother’s twin sibling. There is tremendous vulnerability on the internet, but similar vulnerabilities are also creeping into our regular day-to-day household items at an alarming rate. The internet and the "internet of things," (IoT). They're really two heads of the same monster.

Be aware of the big picture. The old world is gone. If we want to be safe, we need to take calculated, conscious steps to ensure our security. It’s simple and relatively easy.

We just have to do it.


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