Privacy Elements

Peeping Tom oil paintingThe original Peeping Tom, the legend has it, sneaked a look at Lady Godiva on her famous ride.

For our purposes here, we're more concerned about outsiders trying to look in.

View down where the driveway will bePhysical privacy

Our location gives us a head start. We're up a hill, hundreds of feet back from the road. The opposite hillside is a preserve and will remain unpopulated. The foot of the permanent driveway will take a hook to the left, around a stand of trees, and those will help partially obscure any view of the house.

Keyhole Peeping TomCould somebody at the house peek in? Sure. There may not be any keyholes, but there are windows, as you can see from the elevation drawing atop every page. The center window is at the master bedroom; the next 2 to the right at the kitchen; and the two to the right of the front door are at the front guest bedroom. Seeing into the kitchen doesn't expose privacy concerns, but...

Of course we can have blinds, shutters or curtains, and of course we can automate those, and of course full-perimeter surveillance with motion and object detection can close those when it's called for. But the front door with all that glass is another matter, a matter we're taking into our own hands.

Front door with glass surroundingThe image at the left is a rendering of the front door as shown on the house plans. All that glass represents a way to visually bring the outdoors inside, completely at the expense of privacy.

Front door alternativeAt the right you see an idea of an alternative approach. The side-light glass and the top glass arch are eliminated in favor of a wider custom door with only top-quarter windows.

Remember, in addition to the cameras, we have sensors at the door to alert us when people come and go. If somebody's home, no one can be there without the occupants of the house knowing it.

But let's say nobody's home.

What can somebody on a box to see into the windows at the top of the door  possibly see?

Front door visibility into houseThe floor plan tells us that.

They can see the foyer, the furniture in the great room and the back porch.

Sure, we could possibly be doing things in those places that we'd rather keep to ourselves, but we're allowed to do those things so even if they were to happen, they may reflect an intrusion into personal privacy, but they do not represent opportunities for identity theft or for other longer-term consequences.

In short, we're not putting up walls or building bunkers. Our attention to eliminating or reducing openings for Peeping Tom visibility is at a level we find livable.

It also means more advanced technology, from binoculars to telephoto cameras to drones, will also face difficulties seeing inside.

We think our net physical privacy will be pretty good.

Online privacyElectronic privacy

The most dangerous threats to privacy come from off-site.

Some threats of electronic intrusion, of course, also happen on-site.

We're taking a 5-pronged approach to combat both - forgive us if some of this overlaps security topics - the two are tightly intertwined.

We have two sources for Internet connectivity (the cable TV system and a fiber feed). The firewall blends both, which somewhat confuses attempts to track our traffic. We're not doing anything extraordinary there, so we're under no illusion of that being effective against the notorious hackers on the other side of the planet.

More to the point, we split those connections into 4 local networks. The one for our controller and the one for our surveillance cameras are forbidden outside connections.

identity-theftA third inside network connects our business computer and its secure WiFi access points. A fourth connects the home's personal secure WiFi access points. A fifth connection, made before the firewall, provides open WiFi access.

That makes it tougher for a would-be identity thief, even with the run of the house, to get easy access to the kinds of data that satisfies his or her evil intentions. It makes it very hard to use the controller or surveillance system information about our comings and goings to plan around them.

Nothing is complete when it comes to privacy protection. We'll never be able to address all the avenues that clever and resourceful identity thieves will find.

But we can make it just a little bit harder for the amateurs and less skilled attackers to take unfair advantage of us.

 

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Editorial Project House

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Lot 14, Riding Ridge Court
Builder Don Cerra

 

Front elevation

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