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The Safest – and Creepiest – Tech Gifts of 2018

If you're looking to give your kids the hottest tech gifts this holiday season, but don't want to compromise their privacy or security, Mozilla is here to help.

The make of the Firefox web browser yesterday (Nov. 14) launched Privacy Not Included, an online guide to the most (and least) secure and private connected home products: 70 toys, smart devices, wearables, fitness devices and pet products.

Mozilla created five "minimum security standards" to distinguish a trustworthy product. A product should have automatic security updates, require strong passwords, use encryption, manage vulnerabilities and have an easily understood privacy policy.

MORE: The Best Nintendo Switch Accessories So Far

Thirty-two products received a badge for meeting all five standards, including the Nintendo Switch, Google Home, Sony PS4 and Apple TV.

On the Privacy Not Included page, you can jump to short reviews of each product. Each marks down a product for sharing your information with third parties for "unexpected reasons," or marks it up for automatic security updates, parental controls, deleting consumer data and easy-to-contact customer support.

The blurbs also note the reading level required to understand the product's privacy policy. Apparently, you need a 15th-grade (or third year of college) reading level to grasp the iPad Pro's privacy policy, and a whopping 18th-grade reading level (graduate school?) for that of the Tile Mate.

The website also includes a live "Creep-O-Meter," where readers submit ratings of each product's creepiness. The Nintendo Switch currently has the best user rating, with 65 of users labeling it "not creepy."

Unsurprisingly, the Fredi baby monitor, infamous for being hacked and used to spy on its owner, is in last place, with 83 percent of readers rating it "super creepy."

Not far behind are the Amazon Echo speakers, including the Echo Show, Echo Spot, Echo, and Echo Dot, as well as the regular Google Home. Amazon and Google probably aren't losing sleep, though. Despite 58 percent of Mozilla readers rating the Echo "super creepy," a recent CTA report predicted that Echo and Google Home will sell a combined 22 million units this holiday season, a 44 percent increase from last year. 

Monica Chin is a writer at The Verge, covering computers. Previously, she was a staff writer for Tom's Guide, covering artificial intelligence and the internet of things. You can usually find her at poetry slams, attempting to exercise, or yelling at people on Twitter.