‘Smart’ gadgets: Ways to minimize privacy and security risks

Revelations that an Amazon Echo smart speaker inadvertently sent a family’s private conversation to an acquaintance shows the risks that come with new technologies.

Amazon blamed an “unlikely” string of events, and the company already has many privacy safeguards built into the device. Yet the incident shows that even with the best intentions, the risk is never zero.

Gadgets these days come loaded with microphones and cameras – some smartphones even have three. They are all vulnerable to hacking or programming errors.

Some ways of minimizing the risks include disabling the microphone and taping over the camera. And check reputable online reviews for known glitches.

It’s also wise to consider whether you need the gadget to begin with.