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Vincent Roca | Smart Bulbs and Privacy: Lost in the Smart Jungle

October 1, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Vincent Roca

Smart Bulbs and Privacy: Lost in the Smart Jungle

Vincent Roca
French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (Inria)
Collaborators: Mathieu Thiery, Michael Toth, Vincent Roca, Arnaud Legout (Inria)

Friday, 1. October 2021; 12:00 CEST

Online event via Zoom:
For a link to the meeting, please contact: 

In the current Internet of Things (IoT) era, smart homes are getting increasingly equipped with connected devices, with privacy implications that largely remain unknown to the end-user. In this talk, we focus on three representative and popular smart bulbs, manufactured by Philips, IKEA and LIFX. We analyze the privacy implications of various techniques to control these bulbs—i.e., switching them ON and OFF—, using various smartphone applications, smart speakers and smart buttons. We show that these techniques determine the remote actors concerned (who are aware of what is going on) and the volume of data sent to the Internet (we measured major differences), and we observe that data often leave the user’s house and country (even though the user is at home). Finally, by analyzing the Privacy Policies we highlight that, in most cases, the end-user cannot reasonably understand the situation. The whole situation is neither respectful of the user’s privacy, nor legal (no user consent), nor sovereign (it creates dependencies on foreign actors). For these reasons, we call for different architectures that would favor local communications and data minimization, with the additional benefit of significantly reducing the ecological footprint.

After a PhD from Grenoble INP in 1996, Vincent Roca joins the University Paris 6 as Associate Professor in 1997, and Inria as researcher in 2000. Specialised in networking, author of fourteen Internet standards (RFCs), since 2017 he is co-chair of an IETF research group, the organisation in charge of Internet standardisation. Member of PRIVATICS since 2012, he is now leading this Inria research team specialised in privacy and personal data protection. He focusses in particular on the privacy risks associated to the use of smartphones and Internet of Things devices. He is also co-author, with PRIVATICS colleagues, of the ROBERT and CLÉA protocols that are the foundations of the contact and presence tracing features of the French official TousAntiCovid app.
More information on https://privatics.inrialpes.fr/people/roca/

Arianna Rossi, University of Luxembourg
Cristiana Teixeira Santos, Utrecht University
Martin Degeling, Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB)
Soheil Human, Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Wien)


October 1, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Online Event
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