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Big Brother air monitoring.

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So I got my AirGradient working properly and the data logged and graphed.

Straight up, obviously it immediately tells me nearly to second when I smoke a cigarette.  If I smoke it in the room it goes nuts.  If I smoke it in the furthest corner of the house, downstairs with the window open and the extractor turn on full... it still sees it!

That was not the surprising thing.

The fact it also shows me exactly when I am drinking alcohol.  It shows when I open a can of beer.  It even shows when I open an over fizzy can and have a foam break over.

It can detect the cat is the only occupant in the room!*

*(Rather I can detect that with data analysis, that the room is not empty when I'm asleep at night).

None of this should be surprising if you think it through.  The sensors are sitting 3 feet from me and they are "professional grade" sensors of course the VoC sensor sees the alcohol vapour and of course the PM sensor see the smoke.

For discussion.   Consider if this was a cloud platform device you had bought.  You get to use the app, they get to enrich and sell your data.

Most people would scoff.  "Ha!  What do I care, it's only my air quality figures from a stupid device."

My response:  "No.  No sir it is not 'just' that, not even close."  From a single sensor of this calibre in the house I can tell a whole LOT more than my air quality.

Seriously.... today, VoC index was 1.  All day.  Not a single value above 1.  Within a few seconds of my opening a beer, BANG, 60.  As I am on the 3rd (and signing off)... it has not returned to zero one.  I looked back at last Fridays beers and... exactly the same thing.  In fact the only real readings for VoC come from that alcohol vapour.

Obviously not a solid indicator, but I might breath on it tomorrow morning and see what it thinks.

I am not saying that AirGradient are or would do this.  I have had a very good relationship with AirGradient and their support.  That's not the point.  Whether those who own airgradient now or in the future wish to do this with the data collected.... is still not my point.

I am not saying anyone "out there" is doing this.

However, as a security conscious developer I am bound by the rule, "If it can be exploited it will be exploited."  YRMV.  (risk).

"If it can be exploited it will be exploited"
Usually avoided by keeping things local only, air gap the system to have no web connectivity at all. The data which you appear to be able to derive from those sensors could indeed provide a dangerous capability for IngSoc and the Inner Party (or whichever 3 or 4 letter agency uses Orwell's work as a blueprint this week, usually all such b*stards) if collected in a centralised corporate database which they could hack or threaten the owners to gain acess to, but if the data is taken locally and stored solely locally, it isn't much of a risk. It would appear the data wouldn't, locally, tell a locally present snooper anything they couldn't already see through a window or hear by pressing a microphone against glass.

I'm sure it can be exploited, but the question is why would anyone bother? If there's money to be made,  then it's highly likely someone will, otherwise, why would anyone bother?


--- Quote from: Zero999 on April 21, 2024, 11:34:12 am ---I'm sure it can be exploited, but the question is why would anyone bother? If there's money to be made,  then it's highly likely someone will, otherwise, why would anyone bother?

--- End quote ---

The first area to affect you financially via this style of exploit is insurance.


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