Whilst there is great excitement about how the Internet of Things (IoT) will allow everyday items to communicate with each other and to vendors through the internet, as with Amazon’s new Dash button, there are still concerns about the vulnerability of having such a vast array of items transmitting and receiving data across a public network.
The IoT is not just one specific thing – it encompasses a variety of different visions and concepts. This in itself means that ensuring the highest level of security around the information it is transmitting could be difficult, as each device will be transmitting a different amount and type of information for a variety of different reasons, but this doesn’t mean that there is a necessity for privacy concerns.
The unavoidable fact is that the IoT is going to be big. Gartner recently predicted that by 2020 there will be 26 billion devices installed – which is no small number. Such a significant increase in devices, and the types of devices, cannot be ignored and it will therefore be a primary focus for the industry to ascertain how, and ensure that, they can retain privacy through the transmission of data across the internet.
Privacy issues have already been highlighted with recent coverage on Smart TVs that have been recording user’s conversations whilst they were unaware, which naturally left them feeling a little spooked. What do companies want with this data specifically and shouldn’t it be made clearer why they are collecting it and for what purpose?
Installing these devices within our homes is a personal choice, often one that comes at no small cost, and because of this we need to be able to fully retain the right to our privacy. Opt out clauses on the transmission and use of data should be provided to users, ensuring that only the necessary and minimum amount of data is sent back to the companies/vendors.
The issue does not lie so much in the collection of the data, as many websites and tools currently do the same, but in giving consumers and users the opportunity to decide who this data is shared with and how it is used.