Things are getting scary…

Something I find troubling about this ‘Internet of Things’ is the ramifications this may have on our security and privacy. With an ever- increasing connectivity of our objects and devices all communicating with each other and ourselves, what happens when there is a breakdown or interruption to this communication?Image

Examples of devices already incorporating aspects of this technology are security cameras and baby monitors. They can be connected to the Internet through mobile devices and your home computer for efficient access and 24 hour/day access. Problems arose however when US security company Trendnet, who make home and business security cameras and hardware, were hacked and over 700 users’ live camera feeds were accessed. Many of these videos were published on the Internet, questioning Trendnet’s representation as ‘secure’.

If cameras can be accessed illegally by anyone, maybe there is a possibility for more future ‘connected’ things to be hacked by the wrong people. I’m picturing our microwaves and vacuums turning on us the minute we walk in the door, under the control of an evil hacker, but that obviously that is very extreme.

While companies are increasingly able to fix bugs and flaws in their software, it can also be seen that hackers that wish to do harm and access others’ property and accounts, are also enhancing their capabilities. With more and more ‘things’ being connected to the Internet in some way, will this make it harder to regulate and manage? What powers will governments hold and how long until the human body is another ‘thing’ in the Internet?

The Internet of Things is, without doubt, an exciting concept to think about. There are endless benefits to be seen by having our movements linked in to our personal devices by being able to control technology in our day to day lives. I just can’t help but think that the speed at which all of this is going, it might just surpass us and the need to reinvent and revolutionise will overtake common sense and rationalising the legitimate human need for this kind of technology. While the amount of connected devices has far surpassed the number of people on the planet, how many of these people have no access to clean water, let alone a strong Internet connection?

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9 thoughts on “Things are getting scary…

  1. An ‘internet of things’ seems to be just what we need to make our busy connected lives freer but will it really improve our life style. What about those people in the world for whom connection ranks way down below fresh water and regular food. I think we get a little tunnel visioned as to what a privilege ‘an internet of things’ really is!

  2. I have mixed views on the whole ‘internet of things’ myself and the possibility of someone being able to hack into a connected household and obtain peoples information is scary. This article talks about how the internet of things will impact on people’s lives. It also refers to privacy risks which I thought was relevant to your blog, (http://blogs.oii.ox.ac.uk/policy/time-for-debate-about-the-societal-impact-of-the-internet-of-things/). However, that doesn’t mean discrediting the good things that can come from this, such as in this article, (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/sunday-review/the-internet-gets-physical.html?pagewanted=all&_r=2&amp😉 which lists several examples of connected objects and how they will be able to help.

  3. I have mixed feelings about the Internet of Things. On one hand I think living in the sort of world that it will bring would be fantastic, but on the other hand I’m worried about the lack of human social interaction because of the amount of technologically enhanced connected-ness.
    And now you have also brought up the issue of privacy and security, something I surprisingly didn’t think of before hand. Dang, maybe this Internet of Things isn’t going to be so great after all.
    I found this article that is quite relevant to this topic and it covers designing security into the internet of things (http://gigaom.com/2013/10/03/designing-security-into-the-internet-of-things/).
    Also the YouTube clip you provided was very insightful.

  4. While I can sympathise with your dytopian view of the internet of things, I do have to disagree. I love the idea of technological enhancement in any capacity. Just because the Terminator says it’s bad, I don’t think it’s bad. I think perhaps the main concern with this would definitely be decreased privacy, but y’know, we seem to all have Facebook these days anyway. Plus, talking to my fridge sounds awesome. http://www.businessinsider.com.au/how-the-internet-of-things-will-evolve-2013-1

  5. The video was so unnerving! The internet of things is definitely posing a conundrum. While these new innovation may make our lives increasingly more convenient it does come at a potential cost. You questioned “how long until the human body is another ‘thing’ in the Internet?” but it seems like that has already happened. I investigated a new microchip called the VeriChip that is designed to be implanted in humans much like the chips you put in pets. This chip was part of the internet of things, so does that mean humans are now too? the chip presents some alarming security issues such as gps tracking and insecure personal information. You can read more on it here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VeriChip
    and also in my blog post here http://isthatallfolks.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/close-encounters-of-the-internet-kind/

  6. Exactly. People are hyper concerned about government surveillance, but they would fit out their entire lives with different types of connected objects for the sake of convenience. Doesn’t add up to me. Where do we draw the line? This article (http://allthingsd.com/20131022/identity-the-connective-tissue-of-the-internet-of-things/) gives an example of a toothbrush Phillips are purportedly developing. that includes GPS and “real time data of your brushing habits, so you can’t lie to the dentist anymore” How digital do we really need to be?

  7. You raise some very good points about the security of the internet of things. I would be a potentially scary world in which we are reliant upon things that can be broken or hacked into. In many ways I wonder if the benefits will every be greater than the possible costs. And good of you to mention those who don’t have water, let alone the internet. In our world maybe we should be investing our time in communicating with each other rather than focusing on making our devices communicate with each other. And maybe we should be looking to improving the lives of those who live below the poverty line, rather than looking to improve our own already blessed lives.

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