Privacy, the next step – why not hack a human?

Written by on December 7, 2015 in Opinion with 0 Comments


One of the most blindingly obvious headlines we have seen for some time made us both sigh and chuckle in equal measure. ‘Privacy and security issues need to be resolved before [the] IoT can boom – report.’ Sensational, we thought. Sherlock would be proud (not). These issues may never be resolved.

Actually it was a consumer report. Hopefully, none of us in the industry are still under the illusion that we can still charge ahead connecting anything that sits still long enough without weighing up the consequences of doing so. Wait, yes, there are hundreds of us, madly connecting toasters, fridges and coffee makers and thus allowing the bad guys to get access to customers’ smart homes, cars, passwords and more.

This report ‘Consumer perspectives on the Internet of Things’ will, hopefully give the coffee maker makers, the fridge freezer manufacturers and connected car producers pause for thought.

Consumers understand the potential. Over half believe that their personal health and well-being could be improved by the IoT.

But the positive outlook is outweighed by concerns over privacy and security. 80 percent of the respondents worry about ownership of personal information and what happens to it, and what it will be used for. As important as privacy are security concerns. How safe is their information – and presumably who is allowed to have access to it. And why?

There seems to be a scary, science fiction-like, trend in the air. Go for a run and information about you and your run are being sucked into the ether as you pant and sweat round the park. Drive to work and your car is sending information to car makers, accessory manufacturers and your insurance company (although insurance companies generally hate that idea).

Meanwhile, tractor beams are getting ready to disrupt the cargo arena, drones are dropping presents into customers’ flower beds and we are generally awash in a sea of information that will almost certainly be mis-interpreted by everyone who comes into contact with it – if anyone actually does.

Privacy? A thing of the past.

Security? Not even a thing of the future, unless the security industry can somehow get ahead of the bad guys. This will be tough because you cannot anticipate their next move or strategy.

And how soon will implants be openly discussed as the next step? Soon. And with implants, you will not even have to wear anything before your every thought will turned into an irrelevant advert, delivered to your invisible screen.

But, first things first. We are already on the fast track to connect everything we can connect and this does, indeed, have huge ramifications for privacy and security. Now, it seems, consumers know the risks.

So, should we continue our headlong journey? No. We should stop and take stock.

Will we stop and take stock? No (sound of faint laughter in offices of software manufacturers who have always launched, tested, updated and launched again).

Wish us luck.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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