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Mozilla releases a new system for rating gadgets by their "creepiness"

Mozilla's new device-rating page. (Source: Mozilla)
Mozilla's new device-rating page. (Source: Mozilla)
Given that consumers may be gearing up for their 2020 holiday shopping, Mozilla has expanded its Privacy Not Included initiative by ranking various popular devices and/or gift ideas by how "creepy" they are. It is based on the organization's research into how they or their OEMs handle and respect user personal data, and has thrown up what may be unpleasant surprises in some cases.

Mozilla's Privacy Not Included is a campaign intended to highlight how the increasingly large amount of personal data that new gadgets and devices seem to need is used by the companies that use or sell them. Now, it has produced a new resource that rates various electronics on this basis.

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 quesiton.

Each product's page also contains details on any known incidence of companies sharing, losing or even selling personal information in the past. However, the actual "creepiness" ratings on the main page (which range from "Not Creepy!" with a happy emoji" to "Super Creepy!" alongside an extremely alarmed one) are assigned based on feedback left by visitors to each page, ideally based on each product's privacy-respecting breakdown.

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.

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.


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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 11 > Mozilla releases a new system for rating gadgets by their "creepiness"
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2020-11-13 (Update: 2020-11-13)