Internet controlling the fridge? Now that’s a chilling thought
I’ve got great news for those of you who have dreamed of having your toaster connected to the internet.
The Los Angeles Times reported this week on the increasing number of homes where the heating/cooling systems and appliances are all connected online. Can you imagine all of the benefits of this technology?
But I’m sure there are some.
Take your refrigerator, for example. It’s thrilled to have internet access. After all, it sits at home all day incredibly bored. (Those strange noises a refrigerator makes are actually yawns.)
Now, however, with your refrigerator connected to the world wide web, it can, I don’t know, update its Facebook page. (Status: “Just chilling.”)
Samsung has recently introduced one of these so-called “smart” refrigerators. Among its many features is one where you turn it on and it proceeds to explode into a huge ball of flames the size of a homecoming bonfire.
No, I’m sorry, I’m thinking of a Samsung phone.
Actually the Samsung “Family Hub” refrigerator starts at $5,600 and includes three small video cameras inside, along with “a 21.5-inch touch screen on the door that can display real-time images of the fridge’s contents.”
I know another way to access “real-time images of the fridge’s contents,” but it involves a complex process of pulling on its door handle.
Besides, why do manufacturers assume we want the contents in our refrigerator visible for all to see? I have two cooked hot dogs left over from our Labor Day barbecue still in our fridge. I wouldn’t want my in-laws to come over and happen to see them. Especially since they have a disgusting green fungus on them. (The hot dogs, I mean).
Plus, when all of your appliances are online, it leaves you vulnerable to hackers who could do evil things, such as switch the settings on your dishwasher from “Normal” to “Pots and Pans.”
A software developer told the San Diego Union Tribune: “With connected appliances, they (hackers) can even tell what food occupants store in their fridge.”
This all is too Big Brother-like for me. A hacker who knows what’s in my fridge could pass this information on to child protective services to inform them children are being raised in a home where the refrigerator has zero vegetables but three jars of Cheese Whiz.
Hackers could even hold your home’s heating and cooling system hostage.
Computerworld.com reported that the use of web-connected smart thermostats may lead to foreign hackers being able to mess with home furnaces a world away. They claim a Russian hacker could access your home’s mechanical systems and lower the temperature to, say, 30 degrees until you agreed to pay him a ransom fee to restore it.
Can you imagine someone having full control over your thermostat and making you suffer? I can, because I’m married.
My thermostat is currently controlled by my wife, who keeps the house at roughly the same temperature as dry ice. Having it controlled by some 19-year-old computer genius in a Moscow basement may be an improvement.
This whole idea of having everything online is designed to make life easier.
Whirlpool, for example, has a new $1,400 smart washer/dryer that can be started remotely from your smartphone.
Let’s say you are at work and realize you forgot to turn on the washing machine. You simply use a phone app to start it. That way, when you get home, you just throw open the washer/dryer lid and see — voila! — nothing, because the internet can’t move your dirty clothes from the hamper.
Personally, I don’t want my appliances to be online. I’m worried the toaster will just look at cat videos all day while the coffee maker tries online dating. (“Mr. Coffee looking for Mrs. Right.”)
Contrary to their goal, these web-based appliances will only make life more complicated. Greedy manufacturers are forcing these on society just to make more money off of us poor consumers. The whole thing makes me hot under the collar.
Or maybe that’s just Russian hackers messing with the thermostat.