Technology in and of itself isn’t the challenge, the challenge is how we as a society deal with it. This is the sort of thing that will likely take legislatures many years (after “privacy” has been eliminated) to sort out.
I highly encourage reading the whole thing – John Paul Titlow writes in Smart Homes: Our Next Digital Privacy Nightmare:
Every time we connect another one of our household appliances to the Internet, we’re going to be generating another set of data about our lives and storing it some company’s servers. That data can be incredibly useful to us, but it creates yet another digital trail of personal details that could become vulnerable to court subpoenas, law enforcement requests (with or without a warrant) or hackers. …
Of course, this has been the case for quite some time, but in the age of the smart home, a stolen or hacked phone isn’t just a repository of personal information: it’s a remote control for your entire house. If you’ve signed up for the remote surveillance service, it also contains live video feeds from every room in the house.
In-Home Video Surveillance: Fair Game For Authorities?
The video monitoring feature alone raises some serious questions about privacy, hackers aside. These videos are living on Comcast’s servers. If the police suspect me of being a drug lord and they ask Comcast for access for a live video feed into my house, will they comply? Would the police need a warrant?
As is often the case with digital privacy issues, there’s no clear legal precedent to draw from. Courts and legislative bodies tend to move considerably more slowly than the pace of technological innovation, so we end up with awkward grey areas like this.
We’ve gone from buyers asking whether a house has septic or public sewer, to asking if hard-wired internet access is available, to – is this home a smart home?