Let’s use the “Home” in a concrete example. The following feature shows the interface of the app. You can click your way through it and see which data you send out. Try it (please click directly on the buttons’ texts):
This shows that, by using smart devices, people send out data, and that these devices learn about the user’s offline behavior (Weinberg et al. 2015: 618). In the example, the “Good morning”-button is pressed on a Monday, at 10:30 am. Obviously, the user wakes up quite late for a workday. Consequently, some questions come up:
- Does that person not have regular office job?
- Is it his free day?
- Or is he unemployed?
We cannot tell yet. But with each additional data set, the user can be identified better (Weber 2015: 623). Clicking on “Film night” at 11 pm on Monday shows that this person is not worried about going to bed early. And indeed, he uses the “Time for bed”-function no earlier than 3:00 am. If this happens every weekday, we at least know that he has no regular office job.
This procedure is like detective work and is similar for every action in the Home App. The way the shades as well as the front and garage door locks are used, implies something about this person. As he only shuts the shades and locks the doors at night, he does not seem afraid of criminality. Either the user lives in a safe area or is just not overly cautious. However, he cannot be called reckless because he still locks the doors at night like most people do.
Over time, we get a quite accurate picture of the user. And this picture is of interest to various actors.