Mozilla publics a list of popular gadgets with “creepy” privacy rating

Mozilla

These rankings by Mozilla are informal, and could also be subjective. However they are based on the potential for abuse or breach of your data, and it does not necessarily imply that a device that is not “creepy” would keep your data perfectly safe or private. If you choose to buy any of these gadgets, it is advised to immediately scrutinize the settings and preferences and disable anything that seems invasive or creepy. This guides against putting your important privacy data in the open, because once your data is out there, it is almost impossible to retrieve it without damage.

These products range from new consoles to fitness trackers, each of which has its own page with a breakdown of how user data is treated by the company in question (according to Mozilla, that is). This includes assessments of their privacy policies, how transparent they are, and the ease of opting out of sharing one's data with the OEM in question.

These days it can be fraught with many previously unforeseen pitfalls as you may end up gifting your loved one a fitness tracker that can also track and record mood shifts, or a seemingly harmless doorbell that can also monitor police activity.  

 Accordingly, devices such as the Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Surface Headphones 2, or Withings Thermo smart thermometer are at the "Not Creepy!" end of the scale, with products such as the Amazon Halo and Oculus Quest 2 headset at the other. Other products such as the Xbox Series X and S are listed as Not Creepy, whereas the Playstation 5 is Somewhat Creepy. Given the upsurge of “smart” speakers, security cameras, doorbells, and several other devices, caution and due diligence is needed before settling for a gift gadget.

Then again, this rating system is not a 100% hard and fast litmus test of user privacy: one of the products on this list, a smart coffee maker, is rated as "Somewhat Creepy" as there is "no mention of deletion of usage information" in its privacy policy. However, some shoppers might find it useful when choosing gifts for this holiday season. However, Mozilla is of the view that Amazon has not earned its stripes and hence the trust to acquire such private data. Mozilla also placed Facebook on the wrong end of the creepy spectrum for a similar reason.