Internet-connected devices make our lives easier but at what cost?


n eight-year-old girl stands petrified, frantically looking for the intruder in her bedroom. She can hear him playing an eerie version of “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” but she can’t see him. “Who is that?” she says, and he answers: “I’m your best friend. You can do whatever you want right now. You can mess up your room. You could break your TV.”

The girl, close to tears, yells: “Mummy!” but the prospect of a parent arriving does nothing to deter the intruder. “I’m Santa Claus,” he says. “Don’t you want to be my best friend?”

This isn’t a scene from a Hollywood horror movie. This happened for real last Christmas in a suburban house in Mississippi to the youngster, Alyssa LeMay, but it could have happened here. The intruder wasn’t hiding in Alyssa’s room; he had hacked into an internet-connected camera installed by her parents to keep an eye on her and her three siblings, and he was grooming her through its speaker.


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