Who's the smart one? What smart home devices know about you

smart bulb 2.png
Some smart devices know how much you spend, how you vote, when you’re sleeping and how you’re moving around your house — and they may be selling that data. (Photo: KUTV)

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) - What do your smart home devices know about you? Apparently, some know how much you spend, how you vote, when you’re sleeping and how you’re moving around your house — and they may be selling that data.

John Singleton picked up a smart light bulb that purported to collect that information, but he didn’t know about that when he bought it.

“You can schedule the lights, you change the colors, you can dim them,” he told 2News.

When the man from Layton read the fine print — the privacy policy — he was shocked by the information the bulb and the app, both by Feit Electric, wanted to track.

“By the second page, I had passed astounded and came to outraged,” Singleton said, “because of the things they were asking me to do.”

The company did not respond to multiple emails and voicemails since mid-January.

Among the information Feit Electric says it knows about the user: age, height, weight, gender, signature, spending patterns, movement data in your home, voting behavior and sleeping patterns.


“This is pretty extreme,” said Pete Ashdown, president and founder of internet provider XMission. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Ashdown said Feit Electric’s privacy policy is written to be overly broad, and the company may not actually be tracking everything on the list.

He said the potential is there for any smart device to “build a very exhaustive pattern of when somebody is in their home, what time they go to bed, what they’re talking about, what their preferences are.”

Ashdown said he wouldn’t buy the light bulb. Competitors don’t track as much.

Singleton said he planned to take the light bulb back to the store.

“Why collect the data unless they’re going to do something profitable or nefarious with it?” Singleton said.


  • Alexa: “Amazon processes and retains your Alexa Interactions, such as your voice inputs, music playlists, and your Alexa to-do and shopping lists, in the cloud to provide, personalize, and improve our services.”
  • Ring: “Four main analytics and marketing companies were discovered to be receiving information such as the names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers, and sensor data on the devices of paying customers.”

A privacy study of dozens of devices, from smart TVs to streaming dongles, smart audio speakers and video doorbells found the vast majority — 72 of the 81 — shared data with third parties.