I suspect that any connected device can collect and transmit information. I read recently that some apps on smartphones have hidden capabilties to do such things. One has to be quite diligent to examine them all! Thanks for the tip on the Little Snitch app. I'll look into that.
In reading the given articles in this course, it seems to me that data collection has been a long time initiative (and at times with little intention to analyze). It is quite amazing the types of information stored. Now, to figure what to do with them.