Petcube Play 2
Review date: Nov. 8, 2021
Mischievous pets everywhere, be warned! These wide-angle, HD-video cameras with two-way audio are watching you. They know whether you've been bad or good and are storing all that evidence in the cloud--encrypted, of course. Be good, and your owner might zoom a laser about for you to play with. Be bad, and your owner might yell at you through the speaker. The built-in microphone picks up barking, meowing, your Amazon Alexa asks, and who knows what else. Pets can phone their parents, send cute selfie videos, and make clips instantly shareable. Petcube says on their website that "privacy is our top priority." We sure hope so!
What could happen if something goes wrong?
Petcube says privacy is a priority and we sure hope so. They encrypt the data they store in the cloud, which is good, because that includes all those cute videos of your furry friend playing and sleeping and eating. The Petcube Play 2 does come with Alexa built-in, so not only is it a camera, it’s also an Amazon Alexa smart speaker with “more than 80,000 skills enabled with one-click,” according to Petcube.
What should you know about Alexa? Amazon makes it possible to automatically delete voice recordings immediately after they are processed. That's a nice feature after the controversy around human reviewers listening in to Alexa voice recordings. However, Amazon says when you delete your voice recordings, they still can keep data of the interactions those recordings triggered. So, if you buy a pregnancy test through Amazon Alexa, they won't forget you bought that pregnancy test just because you ask them to delete the voice recording of that purchase. That record of the purchase is data they have on you going forward and may use to target you with ads for more stuff.
Petcube says they share aggregated, de-identified data—this means that Petcube strips your data of personal information and then pools it with other user data. This generally doesn’t worry us too much. It is a good time to point out that many privacy researchers claim it can be relatively easy to de-anonymize such data, especially location data. And beware, if you connect your Petcube to Facebook Connect or Instagram, those social media sites can collect information on you such as birth date, gender, name, and location.
What could happen if something goes wrong? Well, this product brings eyes, ears, and Amazon Alexa into your home and stores what it sees in the cloud. It's one thing to spy on your dog in order to give it a treat. It's another to worry you might be the one being spied on. No one needs to know you like to give you dog kisses right on the lips!
Tips to protect yourself
- Don't make the password for you Petcute your pet's name. Make it something harder to guess.
- Keep the camera's software up to data.
- Cover the lense when you're home and don't need to spy on your furry friend.
- Keep your WiFi network password protected with a strong password.
- Delete your Amazon Alexa voice requests regularly.
Can it snoop on me?
What can be used to sign up?
What data does the company collect?
Name, email, location, birthday, gender, pet's name
Audio, video recordings (if you have recording features enabled)
How does the company use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?
No known incidents in the last 3 years.
Can this product be used offline?
User-friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Is this AI untrustworthy?
What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?
Pet recognition: with machine learning, Petcube devices will be able to differentiate between pets versus humans.
If you enable Alexa: voice recognition.
Is the company transparent about how the AI works?
Does the user have control over the AI features?
Your cute pet camera may hide a troubling secretMashable
Spying on the Dog (or Cat)The New York Times
Tips To Protect Your Pet’s PrivacyFixMeStick
Pet Camera Hacking: Concerns You Should KnowPetsho
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