Google chairman Eric Schmidt claims that “the Internet will disappear.” No, he wasn’t referring to the fact that you won’t be able to “like” pictures of dogs on Facebook anymore or log in to your Effacts database. He meant that the internet as we know it will become so pervasive and integrated into so many everyday objects (think fridges, watches and cars) that users will no longer notice when they are interacting with it. This phenomenon is known as the “Internet of Things” (IoT), a term for physical devices that come equipped with wireless internet connectivity. Currently, the technology is being integrated into devices at a rapid rate, while the legal world is grappling with the issues raised by the IoT, and identifying the ones which are of greatest concern.
Data Security and Privacy
Theoretically, any device that has an internet connection can be hacked. This isn’t necessarily an immediate cause for alarm, since cybercriminals usually have their eyes on large computer networks and payment collection systems. The speed at which the devices are being developed and the general lack of security protocols make these device more vulnerable. In July 2014, Hewlett-Packard published a study on the security of 10 popular IoT devices. At least 70% of the devices transmitted data over unencrypted network services and perhaps most shocking, 80% used simple passwords. One way to fill in the gap in privacy is if companies offer anti-virus software for kitchen appliances and wearable devices. In the future, households may hire digital privacy consultants to assess their collections of connected devices.
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