But unless you unplug or otherwise disable the device, it's always on, always connected to the Internet, and with Snowden's unnerving story fresh in my mind, I had to ask myself: What did I just bring into my house?I'm sure I'm not the only parent asking such a question, given the ever-multiplying selection of Internet-connected toys.
Looking for a movie to watch while wrapping my kids' Christmas gifts, I made an odd but serendipitous choice: "Citizenfour," the Oscar-winning documentary about Edward Snowden and the U. It's apparently just an innocuous inquiry from room service, but when the conversation ends, Snowden unplugs the phone from the wall."All of these new (Internet-enabled) phones, they have little computers in them, and you can hot mic these … "As long as it's plugged in, (someone) can be listening."That sounded pretty scary.
At one point, Snowden is having a clandestine meeting with the filmmakers in a Hong Kong hotel room when the phone rings.
But then I realized that one of the toys my wife and I had just bought for our kids had an even more frightening potential for misuse.
It's called a Kinect, and it's a device for Microsoft's Xbox video game system that comes with a microphone, a camera and technology that recognizes a user's voice and face.
Like before also, thousands of the cameras never and still don't work.