Black Friday marked the beginning of the busy holiday sale season. With the abundance of new technology released in markets today, many people’s holiday gift lists contain a variety of fun gadgets to purchase for their loved ones.

However, many gift-buyers don’t realize the potential risk on personal information that many of these gadgets possess.

Thankfully, the company who created Firefox, Mozilla, shared a “Privacy Not Included” gift list ranking these products on their probability of lurking in the background. Essentially, the list ranks whether they can spy on you or share personal information with third-parties.

The guide includes 70 products that Mozilla had researchers review like the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, iPad, Apple TV and household smart appliances, only 33 of which passed Mozilla’s approval for meeting safe security standards.

What do these security standards include?

Mozilla, with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and the Internet Society and Consumers International organization, came up with a set of guidelines for internet-connected products that they call Minimum Security Standards. It takes many things into account like whether the device has automatic security updates, manages security vulnerabilities, requires users to chance the default password, readability of the product’s privacy policy, among other criteria.

You may not realize it, but many major corporations fell prey to cyber attacks in 2018. Companies like Facebook and Panera were attacked, which resulted in a leak of their user’s personal information. As our world becomes more connected, the threat of cyber fraud grows.

So, if you plan to buy any tech devices friends or family, it’s best to check out some of the items that made the list.

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Safe Holiday Tech Gifts

Nintendo Switch

At the top of the list, the least info-seeking is the Nintendo Switch — gamers can take a sigh of relief. It uses encryption, has automatic security updates and deletes data it stores on you.

Samsung Gear Sport

This cool watch can go to the active member of your family! It tracks calories, tells you when and how to workout, and give you tips on stretching. While its privacy policy is hard to read, it includes encryption and requires users to change the default password.

Apple Watch Series 4

Apple redesigned their watch to offer bonus capabilities. This watch comes with two FDA-approved heart monitoring features and a fall detection that alerts emergency contacts when you fall. It also meets Mozilla’s Minimum Security Standards, includes encryption, and deletes data it stores on you.

Less Safe Holiday Tech Gifts

Nest Hello Video Doorbell

If you haven’t heard of this device, it’s not a doorbell. It is a device that lets you see, hear and speak to people at your door from your phone or computer, and includes a motion sensor. While Mozilla found it does not share your information, it has a complicated privacy policy and doesn’t require users to change the default password, making it easily hacked.

Amazon Fire HD Tablet

With this tablet you can limit the amount of time your kid can spend using it for videos or playing games. But it comes with downsides. It does not meet the Minimum Security Standards and shares your information with third parties for unexpected reasons. However, the worst thing Mozilla predicts happening involves forgetting to set a passcode and enabling your young child to spend $500 on toys from Amazon.

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Sonos One

The Sonos One smart speaker is a hit with audiophiles. It meets the security requirements and does an overall good job with security and privacy. However, with Alexa built-in Amazon could know how you’re feeling based on what music you play, and then use that information to show you targeted ads.

Very Unsafe Holiday Tech Gifts

FREDI Baby Monitor

Baby monitors can help the new mom or dad in the family. Unfortunately, this one is not the way to go. It has a history of being easily hacked since its default password is “123,” and no privacy policy could be found.

Amazon Echo Show & Spot

This hot new gadget can talk to you, show you things, listen and watch. Though this device uses encryption, Mozilla found it shares your information with third parties for an unexpected reason. While it may not end up causing any damage to your personal information, there is a potential risk.

Dobby Picket Drone

This one holds popularity as one of the cheapest and tiniest drones on the market. Unfortunately, it not only fails to meet any of the security standards, but Mozilla could not find a privacy policy. Both are not a good sign. Next thing you know, your videos are taken by someone else without your knowledge.

Happy Holiday Gadget Hunting

Check out the complete list of holiday gadgets and their rankings before splurging on tech gifts this year.


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