It is coming, are you ready for wearablegeddon? According to Gartner Inc., over 20 percent of enterprises will have digital security services devoted to protecting business initiatives using devices and services in the Internet of Things (IoT) by year end 2017. Should this concern your family? Here are some simple ways having an IoT device might endanger your home privacy.
Consumers in general are demanding to receive reinforcement on how they are doing. From the applications we use on our phone to the devices we own in our homes, we want feedback. Similar to how files are stored on cloud type services including iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox, Instagram and others, your personal data in your Fitbit, Nike Fuelband or Google Glass is being stored somewhere. How do you control where this is being stored?
Unfortunately, you can’t. Your only option is to really pay attention to the limited privacy settings and to use those that you are allowed. Or simply choose not to use certain devices. The regulatory framework will have to evolve to protect consumers, it has not yet.
Your Health Is In Jeopardy
According to an FTC report on the Internet of Things, “the word ‘health’ appears 51 times” during the course of the report. It also states “At the same time, data from these Internet of Things devices should not be usable by insurers to set health, life, car, or other premiums. Nor should these data migrate into employment decisions, credit decisions, housing decisions, or other areas of public life. To aid the development of the Internet of Things–and reap the potential public health benefits these devices can create–we should reassure the public that their health data will not be used to draw unexpected inferences or incorporated into economic decision making.”
Can this be trusted? The FTC Report stated that “HIPAA should be expanded from just members of the healthcare community to include all consumer products that request or capture health information…Consumers should have transparency and choices over their sensitive health information, regardless of who collects it. Consistent standards would also level the playing field for businesses.”
Expect HIPAA compliance to tighten and provide higher requirements, and in that, you as the customer should have choices in the future. In fact, many believe that the FTC will require “greater privacy and security controls to be implemented covering the Internet of Things”, the real dilemma is can they follow through? “There is potential for this data to be shared with unauthorized individuals and controls must be put in place to reduce the risk of unauthorized disclosure.”
Big Brother Knows What You Eat, Wear and When You Are Awake
The daily alarm goes off, your coffee gets started and within 30 minutes of eating and preparing for the day, your car automatically starts — all based off your daily routine. The beauty of this is not having to think your entire morning. The downside: your information is sent to big brother.
As the Internet of Things technology improves, based on your location, it will not be impossible for grocery stores to recognize what you might forget at the store, check what is in your fridge and send you a push notification to get it. Awesome or creepy – you decide. Regardless, big brother as well as potential hackers are watching and could alter items like food tax based on its findings.
Your Child’s Data Will Be Everywhere
The Internet of Things is getting out of control to the point that companies like Fuhu, a company based in Los Angeles known for its Nabi tablet for children, wants to open the IoT market to kids. According to a USAToday article, “Fuhu is in the early stages of devising a “connected room” platform for kids built around sensors, monitors and cloud services, all designed to supply information – and hopefully peace of mind – to parents.”
Now there are definite advantages to this. One of those being child safety is monitored. You could potential leave your child unattended in its room and be alerted if they leave, if certain objects fall over, windows or doors being opened. Granted, this would be an advantage, but would the advantages like this outweigh the many disadvantages?
For example, how many babies are going to want to have a tracker in their diaper to alert the parents if the child has a wet diaper? Some babies can’t keep headbands or hats on, I think it would be a challenge to have them keep it on. Also, do mothers really want to wear sensors to know how often and how long they are nursing babies? It is important that there be some type of regulation on the matter. As each device or sensor comes out, there will be those crazed lunatic parents who want to track everything but for the general public, the price and the demand does not seem like it would be high.
Be Cautious, Use Data To Your Advantage
It’s important that consumers use IoT devices to their advantage. Data is powerful but it has its concerns. Use data to your advantage by protecting it through security measures and avoiding public wifi or other security concerns while operating devices. As for home appliances, it appears that big brother will always have access and always be interested in consumer behavior and unfortunately, there is not much americans can do about it.