ThingsCon Log: Smart Home Surveillance, Trustmarks, OMGDPR

Hi there! How are you today? 🌈


Short and sweet:


You know we're exploring a potential trustmark for IoT, and Mozilla supports this work through Peter Bihr's Mozilla IoT Fellowship. So we set up a trustmark project page on

The project is a work in progress and subject to frequent and ongoing change, and this page is the best starting point to follow these efforts and learn more.

Also, things are picking up some steam with a first (draft stage) slide deck, an interview with the WSJ's Jeff Stone, a shout out in Mozilla's Internet Health Report, and some upcoming workshops—the first one at ThingsCon Salon Antwerp (see above). Where can you find links and more on all of these things? That's right, you'll find everything on 👉 The Trustmark Page 👈.


Are you on Slack? Drop us a line with your email address and we'll be happy to see you in the ThingsCon backchannel on Slack ( And as always, for any news follow us on Twitter.


The House That Spied On Me (Gizmodo) is both entertaining and a little worrying/saddening:

I had to download 14 different apps to my phone to control everything, which meant creating an account for each one of those apps. (Yes, my coffeemaker has a log-in and a very long terms of service agreement.) After setting them up, I thought I’d be able to control all the devices by issuing voice commands to Alexa via the Echo—the smart speaker that we’ve been using for the last year as a glorified timer and music player— but this did not go as well as I had hoped. (...)

I thought the house would take care of me but instead everything in it now had the power to ask me to do things.

Speaking of problematic relationships with smart homes, David Meyer's Connected Rights newsletter has this to say about Chinese government plans to connect public space CCTV and smart home devices for their facial recognition capabilities:

According to Radio Free Asia, that includes a surveillance platform called Sharp Eyes that can "link up public surveillance cameras and those installed in smart devices in the home, to a nationwide network for viewing in real time by anyone who is given access."

We all know the old platform phrase "build it and they will come"—which of course was never true. However, alas, "build it and someone will find a way to abuse it" might be truer.


OMGDPR! In Berlin (21 April), Chris Adams hosts an unconference about the impact of GDPR. We'll be there.

Have a fantastic week!

On behalf of the whole ThingsCon team,

Your scribe Peter

PS. Think a friend or colleague would enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to pass it on! 🙏

Peter Bihr