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Smart thermometer data used to target ads

Hands holding an iphone and a thermometer that is connected via wifi.
Photo: Kinsa thermometer.

Clorox paid to license information from Kinsa, a tech start-up that sells internet-connected thermometers, so more ads could be targeted toward ZIP codes that had increases in fevers and other symptoms, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Smart home devices that connect to the internet may provide more efficiency and connectivity to households. But, the debate continues as increased convenience comes with growing concerns about privacy. To prevent the spread of flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends disinfecting surfaces — products that Clorox sells.

How it works

  • The thermometers connect to a smartphone app, which can help track fevers and symptoms.
  • Kinsa says its thermometers are in more than 500,000 American households. The “illness data” the company has contains no identifying personal information before it's passed along to other companies, per NYT.
  • Similarly, smart TVs and Roku collects viewing and streaming data for advertising purposes.

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