These days, there are more apps, services, and devices that are constantly tracking us and gathering our data. Many companies have defended such practices, claiming that they use the information to improve on their products and to optimize them, and while some of it might be true, we imagine that many users are probably not too thrilled by it.
The good news is that researchers at Carnegie Mellon have developed an opt-out app that has been designed to allow users greater control over what is tracking them, even when they’re out in public and might not necessarily know that they are being tracked or have their data gathered on them.
According to the researchers, “Consider public cameras with facial recognition and scene recognition capabilities, Bluetooth beacons surreptitiously tracking your whereabouts at the mall, or your neighbor’s smart doorbell or smart speaker. The IoT Assistant app will let you discover the IoT devices around you and learn about the data they collect. If the device offers privacy choices like opting in or out of data collection, the app will help you access these choices.”
While this sounds incredibly promising, the downside is that companies and developers who make these products will need to choose to use this infrastructure. This means that if they don’t, then the app would be pretty much useless.
However, the researchers seem to be banking on laws like the General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act, in which they believe that their infrastructure will make it easier for companies to comply with these laws. You can check out the app’s demonstration in the video above if you want to get an idea on how it might work.