With the rise of the smart home, there has been an increasing need to familiarize with constantly-updating technology. The Washington Post spoke with Matthew Rathbun, executive vice president of Coldwell Banker Elite, and found even with frequent articles about hacking in today’s society, homeowners view home automation positively. They prioritize convenience over security and accept the risk of being watched or tracked.

Interior decorator Iantha Carley said that although she would “never have Alexa” because of a fear of being overheard, she has no problem using her phone to turn on her lights, an ability she said is “not intrusive.”

Rathbun admitted that he is now much more likely to alter the temperature at night because he can simply tap his phone screen a few times instead of taking on the “arduous task” of walking down a flight of stairs to the thermostat.

Carley and Rathbun’s words reflect research conducted by Eric Zeng, a graduate research assistant at the University of Washington. Along with collaborators Shrirang Mare and Franziska Roesner, he interviewed 15 smart-home owners in depth about their privacy concerns. Although participants were aware of security issues such as data collection, surveillance and hacking, “most were not concerned about these issues on a day-to-day basis,” the report found. No one mentioned a negative experience that involved the companies, hackers or the government, he said in an interview.

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