Due to the increasing connectedness of all the sensors mainly through the internet they increasingly influence our social life and behaviour. In the near future the number of devices equipped with sensors connected to the internet will explode. The amount of data that is collected will be enormous. .

The internet of things (IoT) has stated benefits like higher business productivity, increased energy and transport efficiency and many more. Due to the data collected through the internet of things it’s possible to improve upon many facets. A commonly given example is a smart grid and a smart public transport. All kind of devices connected to the smart grid can determine when energy is available from local solar installations or when the price is low. A single device can’t deliver enough information to smooth out energy usage but if all devices are connected through the IoT they can easily adapt to each other.

However the advantages have to be balanced against privacy and security risks. All devices connected to the internet provide information for less noble usages. A simple example is how easy it becomes for any criminal to determine if you’re at home or not. The fabricant of your coffee machine knows how much and when you make coffee. While at first sight this information is worthless it can become valuable if combined with other information. This paper provides more details about the social impact of the internet of things.

Another example is the decision to obligate an e-call system in any vehicle sold after October 2015 in the European union. With such a system in each car the government knows at any given time the exact position of your car. They say privacy is guaranteed because continuous logging isn’t permitted, however it’s difficult to check it. They will log the type of vehicle, the fuel type, time, exact location, driving direction and the nr of safety belts in use.  This information is indeed useful for the counsellors in case of an accident.

eCall

What do you think about connecting every device to the internet. Are the advantages worth the privacy risks or not?

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