Chapter 6. The Internet of Tattletale Devices

The IoT’s deep reach into society means we will need to reexamine how we think about technology and privacy.

In the emerging IoT, the “things” connect more deeply into an individual’s life and behavior than did the computers of previous IT infrastructure. They also transmit this data to a wider range of players. Consequently, the IoT may enable aggregation across large populations of individuals and across larger populations of attributes for any one individual.

These new dimensions challenge the way we think about privacy: access and control of data about ourselves. This chapter considers some of these challenges, discussing:

  • Cautionary tales about IoT and IoC privacy leakage

  • Areas where current IoT collection of data was intended but surprising

  • How the emerging IoT may enable widespread monitoring of individuals

  • Why an effective privacy policy is a hard goal to achieve

Cautionary Tales

Chapter 2 discussed how, in a typical IoT architecture, distributed sensors and actuators connect to a big data backend, and Chapter 3 observed how the future has been here before. Let’s take a look at a few cautionary tales.

IoC Privacy Spills

Big data backends already have a history of privacy spills. Spills of personal data records have become so common that they’re barely newsworthy anymore. One nicely ironic incident was the 2015 compromise of the US government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM); information (including mine) collected ...

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