This smart thermometer takes your temperature while its maker sells your data

kinsa smart thermostat selling data clorox

Smart devices typically make our lives easier by collecting information and communicating it with other internet-connected tools. It turns out that in some cases, that’s making things easier for advertisers, too. Kinsa, the maker of internet-connected thermometers, has been selling user data to Clorox and other companies, according to a report from the New York Times.

Clorox reportedly licensed some information from Kinsa, a San Francisco-based tech startup, during the most recent flu season. That data showed the cleaning products manufacturer what ZIP codes across the United States were seeing an increase in fevers. Clorox then used that information to target advertisements in those areas in order to try to convince people to purchase products like disinfecting wipes.

Kinsa was able to provide that information by aggregating the data collected from the more than 500,000 American households that have one of its internet-connected thermometers. When someone takes their own temperature or the temperature of their child with a Kinsa device, that adds another data point to the company’s collection of “illness data.” That information can be collected in real time, so the company has a live look at where there are flareups of sickness around the country.

Kinsa anonymizes the data it collects before sharing it, and the company says that the aggregated information contains nothing that would be personally identifiable. But it still may feel invasive to some people to know that whatever information may come up on their thermometer is contributing to a map of sickness that is being sold to other companies — especially when the end result is targeted advertising to those who are ill or caring for someone who is. Kinsa’s information, sold under the name Kinsa Insights, has also been purchased by pharmacies and drug makers, according to the New York Times.

While Kinsa’s data-sharing practices may make some users adverse to its product, the company claims most people opt into sharing data. The company also views information sharing as more than just advertising. Kinsa pointed out that it can help retailers make sure their shelves are stocked with cold medicine when a spike in sickness hits a certain region. The information can also be transferred to partners like tele-medicine services to help consumers quickly share symptoms and illness history with doctors.

Mobile

5G your old phone: HTC’s 5G Hub is now available for pre-order from Sprint

HTC almost made a phone. The HTC 5G Hub runs Android 9 Pie, has a Qualcomm 855 processor with the X50 modem, 4GB of RAM, and an HD touchscreen -- but it's a hot spot designed to connect to 5G networks.
Web

Gmail logs your purchase history, undermining Google’s commitment to privacy

Google has tried to portray itself as privacy-focused. But a new report shows Google tracks many of your online purchases, even if they are bought from a non-Google affiliated store like Amazon.
Social Media

Instagram’s new Explore grid tempts you to open your wallet

Instagram has made some changes to its Explore tab that might tempt you into the occasional shopping spree. It's also planning to add Stories to the grid, mixing them up with the existing photos and videos.
Home Theater

What is Kodi? It’s the free media software that should have come with your TV

To take control of the movies, TV shows, and music in your personal collection, you need media center software like Kodi. It's free and turns your PC, TV, or tablet into a multimedia jukebox. Here's how to use it.
Smart Home

Alexa Guard: Everything you need to know about the home security feature

What exactly is Alexa Guard and what can it do? What are its limitations? How do you set it up? We have the answers to all of these questions about the feature in this handy guide.
Smart Home

Sale at Microsoft Store knocks 20% off Samsung SmartThings devices

Looking to make your home even smarter? Samsung SmartThings is the electronics manufacturer's smart home hub, sensor, and most recently a decent mesh Wi-Fi router system, and everything's on sale for 20% off at the Microsoft Store at the…
Smart Home

Amazon drops price of Panasonic’s Beard and Body Trimmer by a whopping 40%

Amazon is offering a 40% off deal on Panasonic's ER-GB80-S beard and body trimmer, which boasts stainless steel blades -- perfect for those with allergies -- set at a 45-degree angle to ensure the best cut.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Smart Home

Nest Hello vs. Ring Video Doorbell Pro: Which is better for you?

Video doorbells provide added peace of mind. You can catch porch pirates in the act, your kids throwing a party, or a prowler roaming around your driveway. We compare two video doorbells: The Nest Hello vs. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro.
News

Kwikset’s second-generation deadbolts get smarter and safer

Kwikset introduced the second generation of its Signature Series Deadbolt with Home Connect locks, which feature a more compact design and an improved chipset that offers over-the-air security updates.
Smart Home

Cleanyst imagines a new mix-at-home paradigm for cleaning products

Cleanyst is a home-mixing system that combines pre-manufactured pouches with your at-home water to create all kinds of cleaning products via an eco-friendly home device that eventually pays for itself.
Music

B&H bundles Bose SoundTouch 10 and Amazon Echo Dot in smart speaker deal

The Amazon Echo Dot and the Bose SoundTouch 10 Wireless Music System are some of the best smart speakers in the game. Save $50 at B&H when you bundle both together, and upgrade your audio experience today.
Deals

Looking for a smart speaker? Grab the first-generation Echo Show for only $90

Looking for a video-enabled Alexa device, but those high price tags scare you? If you don't mind the less sleek look of the first generation Echo Show, then Woot's latest electronics deal is one you don't want to miss: they're brand new…
Smart Home

Grab a free upright vac to go with your Shark Ion robot vacuum

For those who haven't started spring cleaning, Shark's latest vacuum deal lets shoppers get hands on an ION Robot Vacuum and a regular vacuum too.