This Week’s Need to Know: The Internet of Stupid Things

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Bought any wi-fi connected diapers recently? A lawn mower that knows your most played Spotify songs? A toaster that toasts to preferences determined by the number of dog accounts you follow on Instagram? You’re enjoying a few of the luxuries that come with the rise of the Internet of Things.
But there are some real threats to this increasingly connected world, and whether or not Obama is in your microwave, the threat of hackers tapping into your smart home objects is way too real. That’s why notorious vigilante/internet hacker “Janit0r” has been putting his skills towards destroying as many Internet o’ Things devices as he can, in the hopes that it will force companies to improve their extremely lax security standards. And while we would never condone vigilanteism, isn’t that totally badass?

 


 

“Instagram has ‘officially crushed Snapchat’ and Snapchat is ‘dead.’” – Say some people.
“These death knells for Snapchat are misplaced and premature.” – Say some other people.
We have to agree that it’s way too early to call it, so we’ll likely be seeing plenty more of Mr. Spiegel. You can dive into the details here, but the TL;DR version is that Snap’s numbers are nothing to sneeze at—especially amongst younger demographics—and both platforms offer plenty of different tools to leverage their audiences. In fact, brands are finally cashing in on both apps’ new shoppable features.

 


 

Unroll.me, which we assumed was a dating app for yoga mats but turns out to be a service that helps you unsubscribe from mailing lists, faced public backlash recently when The New York Times revealed that the service was selling user data right back to the very companies whose mailing lists users were trying to unsubscribe from. In response to the outcry, CEO/co-founder Jojo Hedaya announced that he was heartbroken, and that he probably didn’t read the user agreement either.

 


 

Amazon has announced another product in their Echo line—the Echo Look. Coming in at $200, the gadget equips Alexa with a depth-sensing camera, LED lights, and a suite of new features that turn her into your own personal style guru. How, you might ask? She taps into machine learning and tips from fashion experts to give you back-handed compliments about your haircut and remark on how those sandals make your ankles look fat.
And don’t worry, the government is definitely not using this camera thing to spy on you.