So how much do people really understand about what it is that they’re giving up when they buy a Wearable or Internet connected device? Take, for instance, “smart” TVs. These televisions take home entertainment to the next level, giving owners not just amazing visuals, but also the ability to use things like voice recognition to change the channel or turn up the volume. This seems like a revolution for those of us that seem to always be misplacing the remote, but there is a downside to being able to talk to your TV.
Wait a minute. I am fine with Samsung knowing that I spent the weekend catching up on Homeland, but capturing personal conversations that I have in the comfort of my living room??! This is a true invasion of our most intimate spaces and cannot be tolerated!
Many of us are okay with releasing some of our private habits to our technology provider; after all it is much better to be served advertisements for things we actually want. But having our personal conversations analysed by connected devices so that corporations know about our most intimate affairs is going too far. Imagine that you are discussing your upcoming surgery over a meal and you turn on your TV to be greeted with an ad for life insurance.
Samsung is transmitting your data through pretty normal means, the Internet, either wired or wireless, protected by your ISP. But “connected devices” are becoming a norm and many of these are designed to go with you. As such, battery life is a concern. To address that, manufacturers are relying on newer protocols for connected devices such as Bluetooth LE (low energy) and ZigBee. In turn, these protocols create a personal area network (PAN), which is allows each person to use a mobile device as a networking hub. What you end up with is a lot of data transmitting across a lot of connected devices using a lot of different protocols and lots of opportunity for that data to be intercepted.
The World Economic Forum released its Global Risk Report which states that IoT hacking is ‘very likely’ and points out that today’s Internet infrastructure was simply not created to handle this kind of flood of connected devices. CES2015 also reinforced this sentiment, with Edith Ramirez warning that attackers could “access and misuse personal information collected and transmitted by connected devices”.
While Smart TV’s have access to a fairly safe means of transmission via wifi or hard-wired ethernet, the market for IoT and connected devices is growing by the day. These connected devices have equally loose privacy policies and are constantly sharing data between connected devices and apps; all of this activity is putting data at risk for exploit.
For more and more, data analytics is big business. But, this is your data that is flying around out there that ultimately stops between your service provider and whatever third, fourth, or fifth parties their sending it to.
Make sure you read your privacy policies. It will be up to each of us to determine what we’re willing to give up in the name of modern convenience.
More Connected Devices Means More Data Therefore More Risks