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Net Neutrality: Getting Oddly specific ads? Blame your Cloud based automation gadgets.

Automation companies like iRobot have come under fire for spying on American households, specifically, their rooms and kitchens; then, selling the data to advertisers. Automation tech companies throughout America like ABB, Mitshubushi electronics, and Schneider Electric, all have been accused of selling data to advertisers. The passing of Net Neutrality is just around the corner as of September 2017, and there are thousands of skeptics expecting the worse in the upcoming FCC vote. This is a perfect time to upgrade on your home automation gadgets.

Eight months ago during the Net Neutrality passing in January 2017, iRobot was scarily quiet during the process. While thousands of different automation tech companies throughout the world joined arms in protest towards the ruling, iRobot didn't make a statement. People became suspicious as of why iRobot didn't speak out against a ruling that could potentially affect the way Americans uses tech in their household. Skeptics grew, once the well-respected organization named OpenMedia voiced their opinion in a tweet "Your friendly little Roomba could soon become a creepy little spy," led to a frenzy of despise towards home automation.

The OpenMedia led to worldwide skepticism and controversy late in July 2017, surrounding the automation tech world. This speculation and outcry have led people to the question; could their beloved home gadgets be secretly spying and blueprinting their house? While there isn't any solid evidence towards iRobot selling data, The New York Times has confirmed that the Reuters quote is false, however, the public isn't completely sold. There has been controversy as of how do we know for sure that automation companies are selling our data but lying publicly; a couple dozen Roomba owners have stated that they've been getting oddly specific ads like chairs that match their carpet or housing material that matches their culture. Though these Roomba owners might just be paranoid, however, their paranoia might be justified.

The Roomba vacuum autonomously sweeps through your house with sensors, cameras, and your wi-fi. After a few uses, the Roomba will map your house to improve accuracy and efficiency. This "mapping" is the issue for many Net Neutrality supporters. Alike to other automation companies, the Roomba records and stores the data of your house into its system; this data could be bought or shared to marketers for a hefty price.

The New York Times interviewed Jamie Lee Willams, lawyer of an astounding digital rights group, he broke down how automation companies could be making a huge profit from mapping out your house. He stated thousands of automation companies can easily detect your median income and family lifestyle, example: if you have kids or live with grandparents. It can also detect your personal hobbies and what you cherish the most like what sports you play or religion. It can discover your culture, ethnical background, and values. This can be used by marketers to understand psychographics (marketing technique that maps out your personality) that otherwise they would've been forced to guess. Having a central gadget to control your household is no different from having a camera in your house watching your every move 24/7. This is valuable information for any marketing or advertising firm. As of August 2017, Jamie Lee Willams assured us that spying on citizens via the Internet is still illegal. Our privacy is protected by Net Neutrality, however, with the abandonment of Net Neutrality, this false report from Reuters could easily become true.

Net neutrality and cloud based Automation tech still has some ways to go. The iRobot controversy is small compared to other controversies like hacking baby monitors, CIA spying, and more. However, being more Data savvy, data fluent, and knowing the history of the automation company you buy from can help you know where your data is going. There are thousands of startups being created daily to help monitor your data, however, this doesn't excuse being uneducated with your data. In the automation tech boom, you have to be data fluent, thankfully, there are automation tech companies like Control4 and Pakedge that can be data fluent for you.

Pakedge: Become data fluent
Monitoring your data isn't hard. The company, Pakedge, makes monitoring hundreds of your automation devices' data simple. Easy-to-use and has a simple user-interface to monitor your data via BackPak. It notifies you if your WI-FI becomes disconnected in your home. It tells you each individual devices' data usage and where it's going. BakPak Lite stores your data within your home device, meaning, they won't ever see the data, it will only be saved within your house. Data fluency is important, and it brings a peace-of-mind knowing your data won't be sold off to marketers or huge tech companies.