What the Internet of Things means for data privacy


If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things – using data they gathered without any help from us – we would be able to track and count everything, and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling, and whether they were fresh or past their best.

This Techopedia definition of the Internet of Things (IoT) sums up the benefits pretty nicely. And while they’re all completely true, the scale of personal data collected by these so-called “smart devices” is staggering and has the potential to cause a lot of problems down the line in terms of privacy.

Trust is just starting to strengthen between consumers and cloud service providers. We’ve reached a point where most initial security concerns aren’t seen as barriers to adoption anymore, and people are able to use consumer cloud services like BuddyBackup with confidence. But the IoT bound to disrupt this new-found status quo.

Every action we make generates data. If devices are monitoring us and our homes 24 hours a day, the amount of data collected is enormous – and it all has to go somewhere. Privacy policies will need to evolve at a rapid pace in order to keep up with data protection on such a large scale. Coupled with recent surveillance scandals, the idea of such huge volumes of personal data being gathered and stored by third party providers is not going to sit comfortably with everyone.

Transparency is going to be the key to long-term success. Providers need to be completely open with users about what information is being collected, how it’s being used, and most importantly, who has access to it. Privacy policies need to be explicit, and should make it easy for you as a user to control exactly how much data you’re happy to share, rather than having to navigate complicated privacy settings to protect yourself.

The Internet of Things is unavoidable. As with any new shift in technology, there is bound to be teething problems that should be addressed with caution. But the potential will far outweigh the risks in time as providers work to earn trust in this new arena. If they fail to look after their customers’ data, they’ll undoubtedly face the consequences.

Author: Cassie Holmes, BuddyBackup

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