The Source: The Internet of Things, Safe or Security Risk?
Smart phones are old news. With recent technological developments, the Internet of Things has moved into consumers' kitchens, cars, and living rooms. Fridges, toasters, and TVs all have the capability to connect to the Internet, collect information, and share that data with third parties.
These devices are making our lives easier. LG's new fridge can sense when food is spoiled and will order more groceries. Smart meters help monitor homes' energy usage. But the possibilities don't just favor the consumer. Some smart TVs watch what you're watching and send that information to advertisers.
A recent article from Consumer Reports found that a security researcher was able to build a homemade device that picked up data from marathon runners' health trackers. Does this mean these devices aren't safe? Do they put us at higher risk for being hacked?
While products are made for many purposes, ranging from medical devices to children's toys, consumers are asking what this incredibly personal data could be used for. Many devices, such as TVs, include the option to turn off data collecting programs. However, user agreements are often difficult to read and understand.
Are these devices and companies given too much access? Or is some data collection worth the improvements they offer?
- Ray Sims, Assistant Director at UTSA's Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security
- Justin Brookman, Director of the Consumer Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology
- Glenn Derene, electronics editor for Consumer Reports